As the Victorian state election looms, and with candidates across the state in full campaign-mode, political activist groups have united on the steps of parliament house in Melbourne yesterday to make a stand against racism in politics.
Led by the advocacy group Colour Code, over 30 multicultural community organisations, including the Koorie Youth Council, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Djirra, have signed a joint statement calling for better political standards amongst candidates.
"This Victorian election we're holding politicians accountable for the words, actions and policies that seek to divide us based on fear and hate," Colour Code Senior Campaigner Roj Amedi told NITV.
"Racism is not just words between two people, it is a system of barriers preventing us and our communities accessing equality like everybody else."
The group co-ordinated yesterday's demonstration around a social media campaign called #NoRacismInPolitics which was launched in July.
Ms Amedi says Colour Code members will also be handing out score cards around the state that show how each political party fare in terms of policies and actions to establish racial equality and justice.
"We're standing together, because we know we're far more powerful united, we're far more effective and we're going to be standing united from today on wards," said Ms Amedi.
The campaign comes after numerous politicians at state and federal level repeatedly referred to "African gangs" as being overrepresented in Melbourne's crime rate.
The Director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Innovation Hub, Abiola Ajetomobi, told NITV News "enough was enough". Ms Ajetomobi, who came to Australia in 2008 as a Nigerian refugee, said:
"We believe that there's no racism tolerated in society, there's no racism accepted in true democracy. What we're asking for today is a government for all and not a government for some. What that means is a government that truly represents the interests of every citizen, including us.
"We are no longer going to stand by and expect or tolerate any racial discrimination by leaders. They set the tone, they set the theme, and people follow it. We don't want a government that divides us, we want a government that unites us."