As attacks on Indian taxi drivers continued in Australia, the chief executive of the Queensland's Taxi Council expressed his concerns over increasing instances of racism in the country.
In the small hours of today a taxi driver was viciously assaulted and robbed by two passengers in Carindale, a suburb of Brisbane, capital of Queensland, following an argument over the fare.
An earlier, unrelated incident, in another part of Brisbane, saw another Indian man punched and robbed.
Thus far it was the state of Victoria that used to report frequent attacks on Indians students, threatening the multi-million education industry. The government of India too weighed in, promising necessary attention. But now the attacks are reported from another part of the country. Looks like the poison is spreading.
But as usual politicians are in a hurry to rebut charges of racism.
Queensland's Acting Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser told ABC Radio, "We want to make particular effort today to emphasis to everybody here in Australia ... and to those people intending to visit that Australia is a tolerant society and no one endorses - everyone abhores - any violence against any individual.
"And In fact, crime has been dropping here in Queensland by more than 26 per cent since 2000 and that's what we want to emphasis to people.
"We don't want this to be blown into something that we don't believe it is."
However, Queensland Taxi Council chief executive Blair Davies said he was concerned by how passengers were treating overseas-born cabbies.
"We haven't been recieving individual complaints from taxi drivers but we are aware of views expressed by groups of Indian drivers that they feel they are being unfairly treated on occassions," he said.
"It is of very great concern to us that there is a small group within in the community who seem to think they can can conduct themseleves where they single out people of foreign origin and treat them to a lesser standard.
"It's not good enough when they do it to people who are teachers, doctors or nurses, it's certainly not good enough when they do it to taxi drivers."
He said it appeared "racist" or simply "bully" passengers believed foreign drivers were soft targets because they would not report their crimes to police.
However, they were very mistaken, Mr Davies said.
"We're encouraging our taxi drivers to report all instances where they come under abuse and we'll certainly use all our resources to encourage the [police] to follow up those reports."