Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, ALP MP for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and ALP MP for Bendigo West Maree Edwards joined the Bendigo Islamic Association today to celebrate the breaking of ground for the construction Bendigo’s first Mosque. The Andrews Labor Government has contributed $400,000 of taxpayers money to aid the Mosque’s construction.
Daniel Andrews expressed his pride in being able to bring an Islamic house of worship to an area previously deprived of such a structure, declaring: “Victoria’s greatest strength is its diversity… the Bendigo Islamic Community Centre will be a further testament to the vibrant and diverse multiculturalism of this great city.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan echoed her leader stating: “The construction of Bendigo’s first Islamic Community Centre will further enhance the city we all know and love.
Bendigo Islamic Association president Sameer Syed thanked the Labor politicians for their support, stating: “Today is the beginning of something great.”
Bendigo Islamic Community Centre spokesperson Dr Aisha Neelam agreed with Mr Syed about just how vital the support of politicians both local and state had been to pushing through the project, saying that: “Minister for Multicultural Affairs Richard Wynne and local members Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards, Lisa Chesters and Mayor Margaret O’Rourke, have been remarkably supportive and without them we wouldn’t have got to the stage of turning the sod today.”
While media coverage has pointedly not mentioned it part of the reason for the effusive thanks from the Islamic community to the politicians goes beyond the normal pat on the back in return for funding that characterises so many taxpayer funded “diversity” projects. The Bendigo Mosque project has been frequently delayed over the decade of its development in part due to extremely vocal local opposition and large public protests against it.
The biggest of these protests broke out in 2015. This was in the wake of the Reclaim Australia rallies earlier that year which had caused controversy after “Reclaimers” had been violently attacked by a far left mob in Melbourne’s Federation square organised by alleged sex-pest socialist Councillor Stephen Jolly. In Bendigo the left wing extremists again attacked anti-mosque protesters and burned Australian flags but were massively outnumbered and had to be protected by police from their intended victims. Some of the protests had over 1000 participants, an unprecedented number for a right wing cause in the normally staunch ALP voting regional Victorian town.
This was no astroturfed campaign, in amazing scenes the then Mayor Peter Cox had to be protected by police after hundreds of furious locals stormed a council meeting calling for his resignation.
The Mosque protests notably also led to the spectacle of the public mock beheading which led to the still continuing vilification trial of right wing activist Blair Cottrell which recently hit the news again as Cottrell continues to fight his conviction on free speech grounds.
The festivities so joyously attended today by the Premier, the local MPs, the Mayor and the editorial staff of the Bendigo Advertiser can legitimately be seen as a victory dance by the local and State leftist establishment celebrating their triumph over the upstart protesters who dared block their vision of “progress”.
Only time will tell if the Daniel Andrews’ dreams of a rainbow Bendigo dancing arm in arm towards a future of diversity and tolerance have any relation whatsoever to reality. The only certainty is that regardless of the outcome the political class will declare it an unqualified success and will sweep any inconvenient failures under the carpet.