PLEASE EX­PLAIN?

WHY TOWNSVILLE’S KIM VUGA IS UP­SET­TING THE NA­TION

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY an­thony.gal­loway@news.com.au

KIM Vuga is con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer in pol­i­tics fol­low­ing the wave of sup­port she has re­ceived for her ap­pear­ance on re­al­ity TV show Go Back to Where You Came From.

The Townsville res­i­dent and free­lance jour­nal­ist has at­tracted con­tro­versy from around the coun­try for her anti- Mus­lim views.

In a wide- rang­ing in­ter­view with the Bul­letin, Ms Vuga ( pic­tured) said Aus­tralia needed to ac­cept fewer Mus­lims into the coun­try, branded mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism a fail­ure and called in­dige­nous AFL star Adam Goodes “un- Aus­tralian”.

But com­mu­nity lead­ers say Ms Vuga’s views are not re­flec­tive of most Townsville res­i­dents.

The “Stop The Boats” cam­paigner, who this month led the Re­claim Aus­tralia Rally in Townsville, said she had been over­whelmed by the sup­port she had re­ceived.

“My phone’s go­ing to ex­plode. One gen­tle­man was in hos­pi­tal and has can­cer and he mes­saged me say­ing to keep do­ing what you’re do­ing,” Ms Vuga said.

“Peo­ple are very con­cerned about Aus­tralia alia now more so than ever. r. We’ve had failed ter­ror­ist ist at­tacks, Man Mo­nis ( Lindt Cafe) and the cli­mate ate of Aus­tralia hasas changed. We … lookk at what’s hap­pen­ing g in Europe with immigration – mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism is de­stroy­ing g the coun­try.”

Ms Vuga said she hadad also re­ceived abu­sive mes­sages, in­clud­ing be­ing called alled a racist and bo­gan. “I be­lieve lieve the whole term ‘ racist’ needs eeds to be thrown away. It’s used d too loosely and any­one who has an op­pos­ing view is called a racist. I’m af­ter equal­ity,” she said.

Ms Vuga said many Aus­tralians were afraid to speak up, and crit­i­cised for­mer Aus­tralian of the Year Adam Goodes for re­act­ing to a 13- year- old girl call­ing him an “ape” in 2013.

“Adam Goodes made fame out of abus­ing a 13year- old girl on a football field,” she said. “He is unAus­tralian and I don’t know how he got Aus­tralian of the Year.”

Ms Vuga, who was born in Bankstown, Syd­ney, said Mus­lim immigration should be scaled back, cit­ing con­cerns about child mar­riage, fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion and chil­dren preach­ing rad­i­cal Is­lam in schools.

The men­tal health worker and jour­nal­ism stu­dent, who has lived in Townsville since 2007, said she may con­sider a po­lit­i­cal ca­reer. “I def­i­nitely have a lot to say and ( will) keep all my op­tions open,” she said. “It’s im­porta im­por­tant to me about what legacy we leave – this war we’ve got … is ev­ery­body’s war. We’re all on the bat­tle­field to­gether, it will be what legacy we leave for our kids.”

Ms Vuga’s more con­tro­ver­sial mo­ments on the SBS se­ries in­cluded re­duc­ing a refugee to tears by ask­ing if he be­lieved she was an in­fi­del, de­scrib­ing be­ing state­less as ‘ bulls-- t’, and dub­bing asy­lum- seek­ing “or­gan­ised crime”.

Mayor Jenny Hill said Townsville was a tol­er­ant city and doubted such views were re­flec­tive of the av­er­age res­i­dent. “That used to hap­pen to me at school – peo­ple used to tell me to go back to where I came from. It’s the same peo­ple, just 50 years fur­ther on,” she said.

Townsville Mul­ti­cul­tural Sup­port Group pres­i­dent Sheila Hawthorn said the city ac­cepts about 150 refugees a year.

“I think the whole is­sue of Townsville be­com­ing a di­verse so­ci­ety has been on­go­ing for 150 years,” Ms Hawthorn said.

The last episode of Go Back to Where You Came From airs tonight at 8.30pm.

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