Protesters have smeared the statue of racehorse Winx with the slogan ‘deportation = death’ in a bid to call attention to federal Labor’s ‘tortured refugee’ policy.
Masked members of Whistleblowers, Activists and Communities Alliance stood outside the Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday morning lambasting the Labor party.
Less than a dozen protesters gathered near the Victorian Labor state conference where Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressed the party faithful.
Online vision showed them using megaphones to chant and heckle attendees arriving at the meeting.
‘Hello, welcome to the conference on how to torture refugees just like the Liberal Party,’ one of the protesters shouted.
The statue of Cox Plate legend Winx was sprayed with red paint (pictured) which read, ‘deportaton = death’ overnight amid protests over federal Labor’s refugee policy
Protesters held up signs that read, ‘no more racist refugee policies’ and ‘Different government same s***’ (pictured)
Online vision showed a group of people from the Whistleblowers, Activists and Communities Alliance using megaphones to chant and heckle attendees arriving at the meeting (pictured, in front of the defaced statue as it was getting cleaned)
Activists also painted red and black graffiti on the pavement with the messages (pictured)
Others held up signs that read, ‘no more racist refugee policies’ and ‘fund communities not prisons or police’.
The graffitied statue of Cox Plate legend Winx was defaced with pro-refugee slogans in red paint, including messages that read ‘deportation = death’ before it was cleaned off.
Activists also painted red and black graffiti on the pavement and walls with the messages, ‘different government same s*** ‘ and ‘humans don’t belong in cages’.
‘What is the point of the Labor Party, if the best they can do is keep people locked up on islands with uncertain futures on bridging visas, what is the point,’ a masked protestor yelled.
Meanwhile, Victorian Labor members heard speeches from Mr Andrews and Mr Albanese as the conference got under way.
Mr Andrews addressed the Victorian Labor faithful at the first state party conference in four years as speculation swirls about his political future.
The Victorian premier and Mr Albanese were among hundreds to converge at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne on Saturday for the two-day conference.
Mr Andrews, who led Labor to another crushing election win in November, used his speech to speak glowingly of the party’s candidate gender quota and his government’s elevation of women’s issues.
Nearby walls were also graffitied (pictured) with messages like ‘people don’t belong in cages’
‘I am so proud that my cabinet, our cabinet is almost two-thirds women as is more than half of our caucus,’ he told the crowd.
Mr Andrews has repeatedly reaffirmed his pledge to serve a full four-year term despite the Herald Sun reporting his deputy Jacinta Allan was advised to begin building a team as part of transition planning.
In his speech, Mr Albanese announced a $2 billion social housing fund along with a promise to deliver the extra cash to state and territory governments within the next two weeks.
He stressed his optimism Australia would rise to the moment to vote for the Voice and spruiked the Victorian government’s major infrastructure pipeline.
Meanwhile, police are investigating the overnight criminal damage to the Winx statue and surrounds and are encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
A Victorian Labor state conference has not been held since 2019 after a federal takeover of the party over allegations of branch stacking against former minister Adem Somyurek.
The federal takeover resulted in the expulsion of 1,700 ‘non-genuine’ members and suspension of voting rights for state party members until administrative control was handed back in late January.
State conference delegates are scheduled to vote on urgent resolutions, discuss policies and debate party rules over the two days.
The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese were among hundreds to converge at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne on Saturday for the two-day Labor party conference
In his speech, Mr Albanese announced a $2 billion social housing fund along with a promise to deliver the extra cash to state and territory governments within the next two weeks
Police are investigating the overnight criminal damage to the Winx statue (pictured) surrounds and are encouraging anyone with information to come forward