Federal Politics

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Labor condemns 'appalling' tweet amid racial tension

The federal government has condemned an opposition MP for posting inflammatory comments about racial tensions in Queensland on Twitter.

The opposition's spokesman for indigenous health Andrew Laming posted remarks on the social networking site last night, after clashes between Aboriginal and Pacific Islander communities at Logan, south of Brisbane.

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The MP for Bowman tweeted: ''Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day's work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?''

Federal Trade Minister Craig Emerson has told the ABC that Mr Laming'ss quotes are disgraceful and callous, and inflaming a tense situation for political gain is appalling.

Meanwhile, talks will continue on Tuesday in an effort to end racial tensions that saw the riot squad called in.

The conflict between the Aboriginal and Pacific Islander communities in Logan flared at the weekend with two separate clashes in the suburb of Woodridge and erupted again yesterday.


An Aboriginal family said it was targeted in one of those incidents by Pacific Islander men who used machetes, metal poles, bats and bricks in an attack that damaged a house and cars. Tensions flared again late on Monday afternoon, prompting police to call in the riot squad to control the crowd.

But a Pacific Islander elder has denied the problem is racial and says it’s a disagreement  between youths from different groups.

Ofa Fukofuka said that because Logan was so multicultural, people tended to be identified by their ethnic groups. ‘‘If there was real racial tension, these people wouldn’t be able to live side by side like they do,’’ he said. ‘‘Everyone just needs to cool down and realise just because there is a disagreement between two youths from different groups, it doesn’t mean there is tension between those groups.’’

Local resident Abraham Sailor, whose family’s home was damaged in the clashes, told the ABC he wanted the violence to end.

‘‘I’m just praying to God that this war is over because I don’t want to see anyone hurt,’’ he said. ‘‘We are humble people, we’re not terrorists our Aboriginal people. But we’ve been terrorised.’’

Extra police are patrolling the community to ensure the situation remains calm.

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