"You Terrorist": Senator Sam Dastyari Racially Abused In A Melbourne Pub
"Everywhere I go, I get white nationalists following me."
Labor senator Sam Dastyari was called a "terrorist" and a "monkey" by men from a right wing fringe group in a Melbourne pub on Wednesday night.
Dastyari was at the Victoria University bar in Melbourne with fellow Labor politician Tim Watts for an event associated with his autobiography, when he was approached by men who began racially abusing him, first referring to Chinese donations, and then calling him a "terrorist" and "a little monkey".
"Say hi to [right wing fringe group] the United Patriots Front for me," Dastyari responded.
The men identified themselves as members of "Patriot Blue", another extreme right wing group that has previously protested against councils changing the date of Australia Day.
The men involved in the incident filmed it, and uploaded to the Patriot Blue Facebook page.
The men told Dastyari to go back to Iran, where Dastyari was born, and asked him whether his wine was "halal certified".
When the men followed Dastyari to his table and kept asking what race Islam is, Watts responded: "What race is dickhead?"
Speaking at the bar after the incident, Dastyari said: "Everywhere I go, I get white nationalists following me. He blamed the rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation for empowering such groups.
"All of this is off the rise of the radical right in this country."
Hanson responded this morning that Dastyari was using the attack to sell his book, and said she called him Mr Bean.
"I call him Mr Bean because that’s exactly what he looks like," she said. "A little Mr Bean...I think he’s a smart-arse [and] he shows it on the floor of parliament, he’s got no respect for the people."
The men were asked several times whether they worked for Toll, as one of the men was wearing a hi-vis shirt with a Toll logo. They denied they did.
A spokesperson for Toll Group told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the man involved was not employed by Toll and had not worked for the company "for several months".
"The actions of these individuals in no way reflect the beliefs and values of Toll. No member of the community should have to endure the behaviour displayed overnight and we do not tolerate such behaviour at our company."
Comments on the video posted on the Patriot Blue Facebook page have been resoundingly against the men.
"Sad you call yourselves Australians," one wrote. "Where are you really from. Losers."
"This didn't really go to plan did it boys?" said another. "Gutless wonders."
The man claiming responsibility for the incident, Neil Erikson, has since posted on Facebook that he believed the term "monkey" was only ever associated with "black peoples" and that Dastyari was engaged in the "victim Olympics".
In an interview on Sky News he said he "didn't believe it was a racial attack."
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told Seven's Sunrise program this morning that there was no place for racial vilification in Australia.