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Dastyari called ‘terrorist’ in racist pub attack

LABOR Senator Sam Dastyari has warned racism in Australia is getting worse after he was ambushed by a group of racist thugs at a Melbourne pub.

The Iranian-born Senator was accosted by a group of men calling themselves working class patriots, and called a "terrorist" and "monkey".

The men from right-wing group Patriot Blue filmed the confrontation and posted it on their Facebook page.

In the confronting video, the men are seen to approach Mr Dastyari saying: "You terrorist. You little monkey."

The men then demanded to know if he was Muslim and insisted he "go back to Iran", and continued to taunt the Senator for several minutes.

Sam Dastyari calmly handled taunts by members of right-wing group Patriot Blue at a Melbourne pub. Picture: Facebook
Sam Dastyari calmly handled taunts by members of right-wing group Patriot Blue at a Melbourne pub. Picture: Facebook

When Mr Dastyari called the men racists, they replied with: "What race is Islam?"

Sticking up for his colleague, fellow Labor MP Tim Watts, who was also at the pub for a Q & A session, said to them: "What race is dickhead?"

Calmly handling the situation, the Senator said the men were "racist red necks".

"You follow me everywhere I go," he said.

"I think you guys are a bunch of racists, I don't have time for you. I'm not going to bother with you guys, you're embarrassing yourselves."

Addressing the event on Channel 9 this morning, Dastyari said he regularly copped racist attacks and said it was getting worse.

‘What race is d***head?’: Fellow Labor MP Tim Watts stuck up for the Senator. Picture: Facebook
‘What race is d***head?’: Fellow Labor MP Tim Watts stuck up for the Senator. Picture: Facebook

"There is a lot of Islamophobia and racism and it's getting worse, not just on the right of politics but on the left as well," he said.

The Senator admitted that while he was used to the comments, they still hurt.

"When you start being questioned about being an Australian, of course it hurts," he said. "When someone like me has spent their life, so proud of being able to come here, so proud of the opportunity that country has been able to give me, to then have to cop a bunch of losers attack you in a bar.

"I mean, they call themselves Australian patriots. They went to a bar and didn't even stay for a drink. What kind of patriots are they?"

Mr Dastyari repeated that the men were racist.

"Look, they are racist, they are Islamophobes. They are the sickening face of white nationalists in this country. What's happening is our politics is heading into a very, very ugly place," he said.

 

The Senator compared the incident to last month's attack on Tony Abbott where the former prime minister was headbutted in a Hobart street.

"We are heading into a space where you are going to start finding politicians are not able to just go to the pub and meet with people or to the pub, like Tony Abbott wasn't able to," he said.

Acknowledging the men may have been in violation of the Racial Vilification Act, Mr Dastyari said he was "keeping his options open" when it came to taking action against the group.

Earlier, Senator Dastyari blamed the rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation for empowering racists.

"All of this is the rise of the radical right in this country, it is the rise of One Nation right," he said. "These are people who feel incredibly empowered because of what Pauline Hanson has done for them.

"You dance so far to the right that it gives those a little bit further out a sense of entitlement."

Real mature, patriots. Picture: Facebook
Real mature, patriots. Picture: Facebook

Topics:  editor's picks general-seniors-news labor sam dastyari


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