Oz state appoints `respect minister`

In the wake of growing racial attacks, the Victorian govt has appointed nation`s first "respect minister".

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2010, 18:43 PM IST

Melbourne: In the wake of a spate of
racial attacks against Indians in Australia, the Victorian
Government has appointed a former football player as the
nation`s first "respect minister" to tackle problems related
to growing racism and alcohol-fuelled violence in the state.

Victorian Premier John Brumby announced that Justin
Madden would be the minister for the "respect agenda" as part
of his election year cabinet reshuffle, `The Australian`
newspaper reported.
Brumby said Madden would be one part of the
government`s response in dealing with the issues surrounding
Indian students, along with the educational and law and order

He said the new minister would be an additional voice
in the community promoting diversity and racial tolerance.

The appointment comes in the wake of nearly 100 cases
of attacks on Indians, mostly students, being reported in
Australia in 2009 as against 17 incidents of assaults in 2008.
Majority of the Indians students were subjected to racial
attacks in Melbourne, capital of the state of Victoria.

Madden, who already has the planning portfolio, will
co-ordinate the "whole of government approach" to social
problems that have gripped Melbourne, including recent
violence against Indians and the increase in assaults.
Brumby said: "We have got some challenges in our
community, particularly based around what I call respect."

"If you respect yourself, you don`t go out and binge
drink, if you respect your community, you don`t go out and
vandalise it, if you respect people around you, you don`t go
out and beat them up."

Meanwhile, the opposition called the new appointment
as political correctness gone mad and said it would not make
Victoria a safer place.