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Australia Day Billboard In Melbourne Causes Controversy

An Australia Day billboard in Victoria that features two women in hijabs has sparked a ferocious debate among social media users around the nation.

The billboard, situated alongside a Melbourne freeway, has been criticised for being too politically correct and not a proper reflection of Australia Day.

The large sign is promoting a RACV-sponsored festival in Kings Domain Gardens next week and also features Victoria's official government and Australia Day logos, with the Australian flag in the background.

But many people - including far-right groups - have taken to Facebook to express their anger at the billboard.

"Why are they even on there? Don't exactly look very Australian," Jayden Jedyn wrote.

Brisbane man Tristan Takuri-walker posted: "Disgusting, appalling and totally wrong."

Miranda Cleary described the billboard as "so not right, and of course we have no say in the way we want to live in our own country, gone is this beautiful land as we know it".

The billboard is believed to stand alongside the Eastlink Freeway, which runs through the suburb of Dandenong where a large number of Melbourne's Muslim population live.

Some critics questioned the choice of two Muslim women and no one else.

"This isn't a reflection of Australia Day, are we losing our own culture to be politically correct??" Sydney woman Liz Parker said.

Sarah Culleton said: "I am all for supporting Muslims against blanket hate and stereotyping but this is the first thing I've come across that's just not right. We're allowed to have our own culture and still be multicultural."

Adelaide woman Alyssa Caple added: "Why not have a picture with a 'aussie', Muslim, Asian, Indian and of course and indigenous Aussie all together? I don't agree with this billboard it just doesn't seem right."

But many defended the billboard.

"First of all this billboard is one of many highlighting the different cultures Australia has to offer, they are not just made for Muslims, Chad Fatileh said.

"For people to find shock in this, shows how racist or biased most people have become."

Tristan Boyd said while the billboard could have been improved by including people of different racial and religious backgrounds, he noted: "isn't Australia Day about being inclusive?"

"We are one regardless of our birthplace, and I'm delighted to know that Muslims are proud to label themselves as Australians too."

The RACV and Victoria's Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship have been contacted for comment.

The outrage follows heated debates online last week over the use of a hijab-wearing woman by retail chain Target in its back-to-school catalogue.

The RACV said the billboard was part of a broader Victorian government campaign to promote Australia Day.

"RACV is proud to be the major supporter of the Victorian government's popular Australia Day Festival, which celebrates everything that makes our country great," the RACV said in a statement.

AAP

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