THE head of Loddon Campaspe multicultural services says the racial abuse of an Irish musician is “completely disgusting” and “criminal”.
Services manager Noemi Cummings said a recent outburst against musician Martin “Paddy” Dolan was unlike anything she had ever heard of.
Mr Dolan had his drum damaged and was told to “go back to where you came from” while performing at a Bendigo hotel.
Ms Cummings said it was upsetting to hear about the encounter amid so many positive events looking at promoting tolerance in Bendigo.
“I thought it was so terrible during the week we are celebrating diversity,” she said.
“This is someone sharing their talent with the community, and for someone to break their instrument is unacceptable, and criminal.
"The only explanation in my view is that the person who made the remarks was out of their mind. You couldn’t be in your right mind and abuse another person like that. I was completely disgusted when I heard it.”
Ms Cummings said the Bendigo Festival of Cultures has highlighted the need for greater discussion of accepting different backgrounds.
She said Victorian police commissioner Ken Lay - who gave a speech on racism during the week - had condemned the incident against Mr Dolan.
“He said he was shocked, he couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Victoria Police take racism very seriously.”
Ms Cummings said the broader community was also fed up with acts of discrimination.
“Australia is very successful when it comes to multiculturalism,” she said.
“The message should be clear that racism is not tolerated. We know by the news that it does still happen, on trains and public transport.
"What we have to continue to work on is to make sure people work to live in harmony.”
Mr Dolan said his Bodhran drum will be repaired by a group in Ireland for free, after they heard of his story.