You might have noticed that, as the 2018 Victorian state election draws inexorably closer, the Coalition is ratcheting up the rhetoric around the one issue they clearly get cut-through on: the so-called Sudanese gang crisis.
Despite the fact that it is largely unsubstantiated in statistics, and even the Victoria Police are reticent to go along with the oppositions extreme law and order angle. The media has indulged the fear campaign in all kinds of wonderful ways – including, at one particularly high point, putting a literal Nazi on TV to discuss the ‘crisis’ – and federal Coalition politicians have leant into the issue hard.
Back in January, Peter Dutton – famed for being incredibly balanced and well-reasoned when it comes to immigration – made the rather incredible claim that people in Melbourne are literally too frightened to go to dinner for fear of being the victim of gang crime. It was justly ridiculed at the time, but unfortunately the proximity to the election is bringing all that bile and shit back up to the surface.
Malcolm Turnbull summoned the spectre of Dutton’s brief fear campaign in a chat with 3AW this morning, making a similar claim about ‘community fears’.
“There is certainly concern about street crime in Melbourne. There is real concern about Sudanese gangs,” he told 3AW. “I’ve heard people, colleagues from Melbourne say there is real anxiety about crime in Melbourne.
“At some point you’ve got to be fair dinkum,” he went on to say. “You’ve got to acknowledge there is a concern.”
(Obviously the fact that his own party at both a state and federal level has been instrumental in whipping up those concerns for the purpose of boosting votes wasn’t mentioned.)
Despite the fact that the ‘African gang crisis’ has clearly been circulated among the back corridors of the Liberal Party as a media talking point, it seems someone didn’t get today’s talking points – that someone being Christopher Pyne.
Behold, courtesy of the ABC:
REPORTER: Are you afraid to go out to restaurants in Melbourne?— Henry Belot (@Henry_Belot) July 17, 2018
PYNE: No, why? Should I be?
REPORTER: Well the PM says colleagues have told him…
PYNE: Oh, because of the gangs, the violence… pic.twitter.com/W41YggbM7N
Must have missed the memo.