Gladys Liu condemns COVID-19 racism as 'un-Australian'

Racist attacks on Chinese-Australians linked to the outbreak of coronavirus have been condemned by Liberal MP Gladys Liu, who has also backed an investigation into the cause of the pandemic.

Federal MP for Chisholm Gladys Liu has condemned racist attacks on the Chinese-Australian community

Federal MP for Chisholm Gladys Liu has condemned racist attacks on the Chinese-Australian community Source: SBS

Federal Liberal MP Gladys Liu has hit out at racist attacks on Chinese-Australians during the COVID-19 outbreak, calling them "un-Australian".

In an interview with SBS News, the member for Chisholm shared her anger and sadness at the rising number of racist attacks on Chinese-Australians, calling for the population to band together to defeat the pandemic.

Several Asian-Australians have been the target of racist abuse since the outbreak of coronavirus in Australia including cases of verbal and physical abuse, being refused service at shops, death threats and vandalism.

Ms Liu condemned the attacks, saying they were unfair and came from "a small group of people who are so un-Australian".

The racist slur spray painted on the garage door of a Chinese-Australian family in Melbourne who were targeted by vandals on back-to-back nights.
Source: SBS News

"I can understand that some people are angry at the situation with COVID-19. We are all suffering," she said.

"Unfortunately, we've got a small group of rogue people who have wrongly directed their anger at Chinese-Australians purely by association. Because the virus started in Wuhan.

"There is no reason why Chinese-Australians should be blamed or are responsible for COVID-19."

Ms Liu also defended the need for an inquiry into the cause of coronavirus, saying it was the "common sense thing to do".

This comes despite claims from within China that the investigation proposed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison is racist and xenophobic.

"Only if you have an independent, scientific and transparent investigation will we learn the cause, spread and management of the pandemic," she said.

Gladys Liu says coronavirus inquiry is right, racism is not

"We need to know that the reason for this investigation is not to point fingers at anyone.

"All countries including Australia, China, America, Canada ... as well as the World Health Organization have to look at how things were handled so we can learn from it.

"This is why we need an independent scientific investigation. We need to get to the bottom of it."

The MP based in Melbourne's east said she is confident all Australians will band together to help through the pandemic.

"It is important we do the right thing, that we do social distancing, that we look at personal hygiene to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"We are winning, Australia is winning. We haven't won but we are winning.

"When we've won on the health front, then we can focus on winning on the economic side."

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.


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Published 7 May 2020 at 8:39pm, updated 7 May 2020 at 8:42pm
By Nick Houghton