What the fish is up with Australia? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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What the fish is up with Australia?

First France, now Australia...

I do like this guy's viewpoint, though.

Tell gangs you're an Aussie: Iemma
By Jonathan Porter
December 15, 2005

NSW Premier Morris Iemma has called on people not to renounce their Australian identity in the face of intimidation by Lebanese gangs - even if it means being bashed.

His advice came after victims of rioting in Sydney told how they were asked if they were Australian before being attacked by large groups of Middle Eastern men.

Mr Iemma said that if approached, people should say: "I'm Australian and this is Australia and this is a country that is here to be shared by all.

"(We are) Australian and proud of it and they're not going to - with baseball bats or with those kind of questions - change the response they get."

He said if he were approached by such a gang he would say he was "proudly Australian", even if it meant being attacked.

Mr Iemma also warned troublemakers that a 500-strong anti-riot squad would be in place over summer to deal with the violence.

"These people have effectively declared war on our society and the values that we hold dear to our hearts, and their behaviour will not be tolerated," he said. "Force will be met with force."
His comments came after NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam said tough new police powers to be rubber-stamped with Coalition support today did "not go far enough".

Trumpeting his new laws, Mr Iemma on Tuesday said that rioters' cars would be confiscated.

But Mr Debnam said he had been told at a private briefing with government officials that instead of being confiscated, cars would be impounded only for seven days. "Seven days is an inconvenience, not a punishment. The cars should be sold," Mr Debnam told The Australian.

But he said the Coalition would support the laws. "It's very important that both sides of parliament get this legislation through."

NSW Police Minister Carl Scully said the police presence would be increased this weekend, as SMS messages encouraging more violence circulated last night. Mr Scully also said police would be able to confiscate mobile phones.

"These characters are using their cars and mobile phones to conduct convoys with intent and they are getting a very strong message," he said.

"They love their cars and their phones and they're going to have them taken off them."

Deputy Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said text messages urging violence were "a form of terrorism". But he said whole SMS networks could not be shut down, as they were used by emergency services.

"We are heading into the bushfire season as well. It's not a simple matter," Mr Scipione said.

The police response to the riots came under the spotlight last night when it emerged that officers were ordered to stay away from a gathering of Lebanese men in Sydney's west on Monday.

The Seven Network said a police incident report instructed officers to stay clear of Punchbowl Park, from where gangs later travelled to the riot hotspot of Cronulla.

Superintendent John Richardson denied the allegations.

"We received information that cars had started to gather at Punchbowl Park. A car crew was sent and reported back that there were 10 cars and approximately 40 men there," he said. "There were no offences being committed and the car crew was ordered to withdraw and observe from afar. There was no trouble and sending police in would only cause trouble."
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