By Brendan Rees
Police are on the hunt for vandals who recently defaced a green at Cranbourne Golf Club with swastika graffiti and other obscene images.
Grounds staff discovered the callous act on Wednesday morning 20 May which included swastikas spray-painted in black and homophobic slurs such as ‘golf fags’ at the club’s fourth green – with witnesses describing the attack as “disgusting” and “cowardly”.
Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, condemned the vandalism saying: “This is not just graffiti on the ground- it is an attack on all of us, and I never I thought I’d say this, but this is becoming the norm”.
“If this hate spree continues, Melbourne will soon be known as the swastika capital of Australia.”
The club, which was founded in 1954, has been the site of multiple anti-Semitic attacks featuring the Nazi swastika across its history.
Cranbourne Golf Club general manager Cameron Mott said staff had found the damage just before 7am while preparing the course for the day’s play, leaving many members upset.
He said the fourth hole remained out of play until the weekend while work was carried out to repair the green, which had been temporarily covered up with turf paint.
Mr Mott described the perpetrators as “pretty ignorant” and not “actually understanding what it all means”.
Victoria’s Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee was currently looking at the effectiveness of existing anti-vilification laws and the possible expansion of protections.
“Items that promote hatred and violence have no place in Victoria and the perpetrators of this disgusting act should be ashamed of themselves,” she said.
Earlier this year, the Victorian Opposition announced a policy to ban the public display of the Nazi Swastika and other Nazi symbols used to incite hatred in the community – and will continue to renew their calls.
“The Nazi Swastika is a symbol of hate and this incident reinforces the need for the Andrews Government to work with the Liberal Nationals and pass bipartisan legislation banning its use,” opposition police spokesman David Southwick said.
Mr Southwick’s comments were echoed by Dr Abramovich who called on the State Government “to fight against this toxic bigotry that is threatening our way of life”.
“We cannot let our guard as home-grown extremists are ramping up their sickening campaign of harassment, and we need to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this growing societal virus,” he said.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed police were investigating the incident.
“Investigators have been told unknown offenders vandalised areas of the course sometime between 7pm on 19 May and 9am on 20 May,” the spokeswoman said.
Police urge anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.