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Immigration minister is slammed for $5.22 million multiculturalism splurge due to “distress” caused by Gaza war

Andrew Giles

Australia’s embattled Immigration Minister is under fire for pledging millions in funding for “multicultural social cohesion” due to “distress” caused by the war in Gaza.

Andrew Giles announced on Tuesday that the Labor government would give $5.22 million to 37 unamed organisations for “social cohesion measures to support Australia’s multicultural society” because of “distress” caused by the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“We are committed to working in partnership with affected communities to provide crucial support,” Mr Giles said, on the same day an Australian aid worker was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

“Our approach supports both short and long term impacts of the conflict- enabling funding to be distributed rapidly to communities most in need while also building capacity in affected communities.

“Our priority is to provide support to those that have been impacted, and to enhance and foster community connection during these challenging times.”

But Mr Giles was soon swamped with criticism from all sides of the political spectrum.

“I don’t suppose any of this funding will be allocated to the Anglo Australian community, will it Andrew? Considering Whites are excluded from multiculturalism,” wrote the British Australian Community.

“Essentially more anti-White funding,” said one X user.

“What about the safety and wellbeing of Australians when it comes to youth and African crime waves?” asked another.

“Israel wants to dump war refugees they created onto Western countries. Foul,” said a third commenter.

“Are they affected communities in Australia or in Israel and Palestine that you speak of?” asked a Facebook user.

Some accused Mr Giles of siding with Israel in the conflict, while others accused him of being “complicit in genocide”.

“You must expel the Israeli ambassador and stop sending military equipment to Israel now,” said one such response.

Another wrote: “Condemn Israel. Close their embassy. Do not align us with these Jewish Nazis.”

Mr Giles’ post also attracted critics of his immigration policies, from those telling him to wind back disastrous record-high migration levels, to others complaining about their visa applications taking too long.

Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, from Melbourne, was killed in Central Gaza along with six other international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity on Tuesday.

“What a joke. Are you going to say anything about the Australian who was deliberately targeted by the Israeli missile while she was feeding starving people,” asked one of Mr Giles’ Facebook followers.

Mr Giles was appointed as Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in June 2022, two decades after acting as a solicitor representing 433 asylum seekers trying to enter Australia on the MV Tampa – an episode which led to the establishment of Australia’s offshore refugee processing policy.

He was then criticised over a Victorian Labor event in November 2022 where Indian migration agents paid $1,000 for tickets for access to Mr Giles.

“We were pleased to note that Minister Giles admitted that the Australian visa system is not working as his government would expect,’ wrote an Indian community member on Facebook.

“He is committed to improve the system and bring many changes in visa processing.”

In May 2023 Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed a controversial deal with Indian PM Narendra Modi easing visa rules for Indians, who are already Australia’s fastest growing immigrant group and 3.1% of the population.

Mr Giles has since faced calls to resign over the release late last year of dozens of criminal asylum seeker detainees, including paedophiles and murders, after a landmark High Court decision that ruled that indefinite detention was unlawful.

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