RECLAIM AUSTRALIA RALLIES
Tolerant city puts division behind it
THE low turnout to the weekend’s anti- Islamic Reclaim Australia rally has been hailed as evidence of Townsville’s tolerance and openness to other cultures.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the growing number of attendees at the annual Multicultural Festival in August, in contrast to the diminutive crowd of 50 at the Townsville rally on Saturday, was a good indication of the city’s diversity.
“I’m not surprised ( the rally) was a bit of a fizzer,” he said. “It shows we have really grown up and changed with the times, and are open to other cultures and other people’s views.”
About 50 demonstrators gathered in Kirwan’s Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens to rally against what they believe is the “Islamification” of Australia, far fewer than the 1000 who attended for the same cause in April.
Rally organiser Kim Vuga, who features in an upcoming SBS documentary Go Back to Where You Came From, said she recognised there were peaceful Muslims living in the community.
But she said there were fundamental problems with Islam itself, including Sharia law and links with terrorism.
“If you are speaking about Islam, it is not a race, it’s a total political ideology, so people who think this is a racially motivated rally are completely off the mark,” Ms Vuga said.
“We have an opinion and we still have the freedom of democracy in our country, and while we’ve still got that we are starting to get louder.
“We are at a high terror alert at the moment and the Australian people don’t want what is happening overseas in places like Europe to happen here.”
Herbert MP Ewen Jones said the rally was not something he stood for.
“I like to think Townsville has a very centred population,” Mr Jones said. “I don’t know what to make of the size of the rally, but they had a reasonable turnout the first time ( in April).
“I believe in a multicultural Australia and am thankful for the great things immigrants have done for this country.”
BIT OF A FIZZER: Townsville’s Reclaim Australia rally organiser Kim Vuga.