A man who ambushed federal senator Sam Dastyari in a pub last night, calling him a “terrorist” and a “monkey”, was also one of those responsible for a mock beheading on the steps of a Bendigo council building.
Mr Dastyari was attending a promotional event for his book, One Halal of a Story, when a group of at least three men confronted him.
The men, who follow the senator through the venue for four minutes, identify themselves as belonging to a group called Patriots Blue. A video of the stunt was later posted to the group’s Facebook page.
"Why don't you go back to Iran, you terrorist?" one of the figures asked, targetting Mr Dastyari’s cultural background.
The senator then labelled the men racists and told them they were embarrassing themselves, to which they replied: "What race is Islam? We are the real Australians. Look at this terrorist."
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Labor MP Tim Watts is shown defending his colleague in the video, asking the abusers, “What race is dickhead?”
Speaking to radio station 3AW on Thursday morning, Neil Erikson admitting he was one of the men responsible for the stunt.
He was also one of three far-right activists convicted and fined for inciting contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Muslims in a video depicting a mock beheading at Bendigo council headquarters.
“We were trying to put him on show,” Mr Erikson told broadcaster Neil Mitchell.
He called Mr Dastyari a “sook”, and denied using xenophobic slurs before accusing the senator himself of using racist language.
“He called me a redneck, which is actually a racist slur,” he said.
The man was unrepentant, saying he was likely to target other politicians in the same way.
Mr Dastyari also spoke to the radio station this morning, admitting he was frightened and offended by the men’s behaviour.
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He was considering legal action against the group.
“I cop a lot abuse, I cop a lot of hate, I probably cop more than other people do because I am a little outspoken,” Mr Dastyari said.
“This is where politics is heading in this country.”
The Patriot Blue stunt follows their storming of a Moreland council meeting last month, carrying a fake coffin painted with the Australian flag and calling councillors "traitors".
The council previously voted to no longer celebrate Australia Day.