#AfricanGangs: social media responds to Melbourne's 'crisis'
African-Australians responded to the assertion by Liberal politicians that is in the grip of an “African gang crisis” by sharing photos of their work, educational achievements and families on social media.
Marked with the hashtag , the photos showcase university graduates, public servants, doctors and community advocates.
The tag sprang up in response to media reporting focused on youth crime allegedly committed by children of African descent in Melbourne’s western and south-eastern suburbs.
One shared a photo of a university graduate posing with former high court judge Michael Kirby, with the caption “Hon Michael Kirby ain’t afraid to take a photo with #AfricanGangs.”
The movement , in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people shared photos of themselves with their fathers, father-figures and children in response to a cartoon by the late Bill Leak depicting an Aboriginal man who did not know his son’s name.
The perceived increase in crime committed by African-Australians, particularly Sudanese-Australians, has in Victoria as part of its campaign for the November state election and was picked up by the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and immigration minister, Peter Dutton, last week.
Dutton in Victoria were “scared to go out to restaurants of a night time because they’re followed home by these gangs, home invasion and cars are stolen.”
He defended his comments on radio in Cairns on Tuesday, citing polling by Fairfax Media that showed concern about crime and a perception that crime was committed by people of African background in two outer-suburban Melbourne seats.
“There was some polling released in only in the last couple of days which clearly indicated that, and yet if you make a statement of the obvious like that you seem to be chastised and attacked in some parts of the media, and social media in particular,” Dutton said.
Political commentators have , in which offences allegedly committed by people of African appearance were described as the work of “gangs” while similar offences committed by white teenagers were not.
According to Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency, people born in Sudan were . At a federal parliamentary inquiry last year, chief statistician Fiona Dowsley qualified that figure:
“To clarify, these are people who have been linked to a particular incident of offending or more incidents of offending in the reference period,” she said. “They have not been through a court process, they have not been found guilty of anything, and they may not even have been charged.”
The Andrews government has also referred to crime by groups of young African-Australians as gang activity and has promised a tough response.
“We’re going to tackle these crimes where they occur,” the acting premier, James Merlino, t “We’re going to tackle these gangs where they occur and we’re going to throw the book at them.”