Illawarra rejects Klan

Issue 

By Tony Iltis WOLLONGONG — The quiet village of Jamberoo, eight kilometres inland from Kiama, became the centre of some unusual goings-on after an article appeared in the February 21 Illawarra Mercury reporting that the Ku Klux Klan was planning a meeting there. The following Saturday, at the advertised time and place, a group of anti-racists, mainly youth and including members of the Aboriginal community and Democratic Socialists, gathered to confront the Klan, who failed to appear. One of the protesters, Dianne Snow, told Green Left Weekly that she had been concerned by the police and media trivialising the threat and their apparent ignorance of anti-discrimination legislation. Following the report in the Mercury, she contacted the police, who seemed more interested in finding out if she was connected with the media than in the KKK meeting, which they described as a media hoax. When she asked whether they could take action under anti-discrimination laws, the police seemed unsure but thought that they could not. Snow later contacted the Human Rights Commission, which told her that under the Anti-Discrimination and Racial Hatred Acts, the police could prosecute anyone inciting racial hatred. Snow told Green Left that it was well known on the Aboriginal grapevine that the Klan has been active in Australia, and that its activity, which has included murder, was mainly targeted at Aboriginal people.