IT is no secret that education is the most effective way to tackle hate. It is also the key to addressing ignorance.
There’s no way to know whether the vandal who defaced state Labor MP Jackie Trad’s election poster with a swastika in Queensland over the weekend was motivated by hate or ignorance.
But it is heartening news that the state is about to get a powerful weapon in combating both with the $3.5 million pledge by the federal government last week for a new Holocaust museum in Brisbane, which will be matched by the Queensland opposition should it win power.
Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth all have a Holocaust museum. With an increase in antisemitism and racism in Queensland, it’s time for Brisbane to follow suit.
When swastikas were daubed over murals at Sydney’s Bondi Beach in February 2019, Holocaust survivor Peter Halas said the vandals “need to be educated”.
Closer to the coal face, a Queensland Holocaust survivor has said “it is vital for future generations” for all Queenslanders to learn about the Shoah.
The Jewish population of Queensland numbers just over 5600. But the relatively small size of the community only strengthens the argument for a Holocaust museum.
Many of our readers in Sydney and Melbourne would have visited their museum, or indeed those in other cities. But the primary audience for such institutions is not our community – it is the wider Australian public.
The Sydney Jewish Museum had more than 55,000 visitors last year, of which 28,500 were school students.
Meanwhile, Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre sees around 23,000 school students through its doors per annum in addition to 10,000 members of the public.
The Victorian government recently made Holocaust education – already a fixture of the NSW curriculum – mandatory for students in years 9 and 10. Queensland could also benefit from making such education – currently voluntary – a mandatory part of their school curriculum.
It comes from recognising the role learning about the Shoah plays, first and foremost.
To paraphrase a well-known Queensland tourism slogan from the 1980s – Education one day, tolerance the next.