NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley has continued to come under fire for her handling of Monday’s night’s anti-Semitic protests at the Sydney Opera House and been accused of offering a “non-apology apology” to the Jewish community .
Following the opposition’s calls for a mea culpa on Wednesday, Ms Catley issued a reserved apology.
Speaking to the parliament on Wednesday, she said: “We have the responsibility to ensure the safety of multicultural communities in NSW, and especially the Jewish community, who deserve to feel safe,” she told the parliament.
“Of course I apologise to anyone if they feel unsafe.”
However, Vaucluse MP Kellie Sloan, who’s electorate has a significant Jewish community, dubbed it a “non-apology apology” and pressed the minister for further comment.
“Will you ever personally apologise to the Jewish community for telling them to stay away from the city while allowing terrorist supporters to vilify Jewish people at one of the country‘s most iconic landmarks,” she asked on Thursday.
In her answer, Ms Catley remained firm in her response and called on the opposition to “end the blatant politicisation of these events”.
“I apologised yesterday to those (in the) Jewish community who feel unsafe ongoing in NSW,” she said.
“That community is grieving, it needs our support, it needs our protection. It does not want to see this issue politicised further. Enough is enough.”
Facing a tough grilling on Thursday, Ms Catley once again affirmed that she had not told any members of the Jewish community to stay away from the Sydney CBD in lieu of a pro-Palestinian protest that marched from the Town Hall to the Sydney Opera House.
She also faced a gotcha question posed by Opposition Leader Mark Speakman who asked: “What powers do you have as the Police Minister under the Police Act?”
While Ms Catley didn’t reference the Act, she said: “As the Police Minister, I will continue to support the police, not condemn them, resource them properly and make sure they do the job”.
On Wednesday, Mr Speakman called on the NSW Premier Chris Minns to remove Ms Catley from her portfolio as police minister over her handling of Monday night’s protests.
“There’s no evidence she even asked the police to stop it happening or asked why it couldn’t happen,” she said.
“When we’ve got a threat of increased tension around the world (and) increased community tensions here, you need a minister who is at the top of her job and this minister, I regret to say, is not.”