“Yesterday in Albert Park we have seen something ACT has long warned of: The alternative to free speech and reasoned debate is physical violence,” says ACT Deputy Leader Brooke van Velden.

“In a civilised country, you counter ideas you don’t like with more speech and debate, not violence and intimidation.

“Ironically, the group who complained they were going to be the victims of violence ended up being the violent ones.

“Immigration Minister Michael Wood needs to take responsibility for his unprofessional, immature and inflammatory outburst about this event. It did not help promote rational behaviour.

“Like many others, Wood has been quick to condemn without thinking about the impact of shutting people down. We risk a divided society where cancel culture spirals out of control.

“The only thing that could make this worse if the Government itself had the power to prosecute people for causing offence under so-called hate speech laws.

“Better still, the Government could and should have enforced people’s rights to speak and debate freely without resorting to violence.”