Statement by The Hon Julia Gillard MP
I am deeply saddened and shocked by the attack on a group of Indian students in Melbourne over the weekend and condemn it unreservedly. I would like to extend my sympathies to the victims of this callous attack.
I want to reiterate my statement before Parliament on Tuesday that the Australian Government will not tolerate victimisation and violence against international students.
Such attacks violate the fundamental Australian values of tolerance and respect for diversity in our society.
The Victorian Police are investigating this serious crime. On the information I have, two people have been interviewed and one has been charged with assault-related offences and is currently in custody on remand.
I note also that two alleged attackers have been arrested in relation to an incident involving an Indian student on a train in Melbourne on 9 May 2009.
I can assure you that the perpetrators of recent attacks in both Sydney and Melbourne will face the full force of the law and I will be working closely with the Victorian and New South Wales State Governments to ensure every effort is made to minimise the possibility of such attacks in the future.
As announced in my statement to Parliament, the Australian Government will be convening a round table to discuss issues affecting international students and student safety will be high on the agenda.