Police act on growing race-hate groups

The Age/April 16, 2001
By Greg Roberts

Brisbane -- Police in two states have moved against members of extremist race-hate groups amid a fresh wave of racist attacks on Aborigines.

The Queensland Government will introduce legislation next month banning racial vilification after reports of race-hate activity in at least four regional centres.

In New South Wales, a member of the Ku Klux Klan will appear in court next month on charges arising from an incident in the northern town of Casino, where Aborigines held last Monday discussed mounting concerns about racist attacks.

The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission has received reports of KKK activity on the Darling Downs and in the Cairns area.

The commission has also been told of the activities of a group called Australian United Skinheads, in Mackay and in Rockhampton, an extremist group aligned with the KKK, the World Church of the Creator.

Colin Toby, chairman of the Palmtree Wataru Aboriginal Corporation in Rockhampton, said the city had been plastered with stickers with messages such as "White Race Awake - White People Unite."

Aborigines had received anonymous phone calls from people who referred to them as "black scum."

"Our people are just disgusted that this sort of thing is happening in this day and age," Mr Toby said.

Members of the World Church of the Creator in the US have been responsible for a spate of murders, arson and other racially motivated crimes. The group boasts on its website of having "many members" in Australia and that its Rockhampton branch is its "public face."

Rockhampton police have interviewed two confessed local members of the group, Michael Ireland and Shaun Simmonds. On the group's website, Mr Ireland, a 28-year-old computer student, said: "The niggers here are one of the most laziest sub-races. Alcohol, petrol, paint and glue are the drugs of choice. ... You don't need faith to know that a nigger's brain is, on average, smaller than a white man's."

Susan Booth, acting head of the Anti-Discrimination Commission, said that under the racial vilification legislation, such comments would be proscribed.

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