Politics

Waleed Aly Has Torn Malcolm Turnbull To Shreds Over The Liberal Party’s African Gangs Bullshit

"I live in Melbourne, and the only place I've heard concerns about Sudanese gangs is on talkback radio."

Waleed Aly has torn into Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party at large over their continued insistence that African gangs are terrorising Victoria, letting rip during an extraordinary segment on Thursday night’s episode of The Project.

For context: the Liberals have been whipping up fear about African gangs for months, with the Victorian branch of the party making concerns about crime a key part of their bid to win November’s state election. Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy has said there is “no use trying to ignore” the state’s problem with “ethnic gangs”, while Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton went one step further, insisting that Melburnians are so scared of African gang violence that we’ve stopped going out for dinner.

Turnbull threw more fuel on the fire earlier this week, telling Melbourne radio station 3AW that “there is real concern about Sudanese gangs. You’d have to be walking around with your hands over your ears in Melbourne not to hear it”.

But Aly wasn’t convinced by the Prime Minister’s remarks, noting that “I live in Melbourne, and the only place I’ve heard concerns about Sudanese gangs is on talkback radio where the PM made those comments”.

“I’m of African heritage, and if there really are a bunch of African gangs running around, frankly I’m offended not to have been at least invited to join one,” he joked.

Aly proceeded to break down the statistics, pointing out that crime in Victoria has actually dropped by around nine percent in the last year, and that Sudanese-born Victorians account for just one percent of offenders during that same period. Sudanese-born Victorians make up 0.1 percent of the state’s population, meaning that the community is over-represented in the crime statistics. Nevertheless, Australian-born Victorians are still responsible for the vast, vast, vast majority of crimes in the state, coming in at around 72 percent.

Aly also quoted Victoria Police, who told The Project that “people from African backgrounds only represent a small portion of offenders in our community” and that “the groups that have been labelled ‘gangs’ are effectively young people coming together, sometimes for one night, to commit offences. It’s not what we have traditionally called gangs”.

“But the PM [is] adamant that he knows something that I and the crime statistics agency and the Victorian human rights commissioner and the Victorian police force don’t,” quipped Aly.

“I’m not saying that African Australians don’t commit crime, and I’m not denying that victims of those crimes have a right to be afraid,” he continued. “But it’s just a fraction of the crime being committed, and to suggest a city is gripped by fear of African gangs is just untrue.”

“The truth is, I don’t think the PM know something that we don’t… I think the government is facing the Super Saturday elections next week, and to put it crudely, they want to appear tough on Sudanese migrants despite the fact those migrants are responsible for just one percent of crime, because being tough on that community wins votes in this country.”

Aly concluded the segment by referencing this embarrassing slip-up from defence minister Christopher Pyne, who briefly forgot he was meant to be pretending to be petrified of African gangs when asked about the situation earlier this week.

“See if you can spot the point where Christopher Pyne remembers there’s an election coming up,” says Aly.

You can watch Aly’s entire piece on Victoria’s supposed African gang crisis below.