Brumby in defensive mode, seeks meeting with Indian envoy

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Melbourne, Feb. 5 (ANI): Following a rebuke by Indian High Commissioner Sujatha Singh that Australia is in denial over racial attacks on Indians, Victoria Premier John Brumby has defended the state's response to the problem.

Brumby has sought a meeting with Singh, who is believed to have told Governor-General Quentin Bryce that Victoria is taking too long to respond on the issue compared to other states.

"I'll be able to reassure her that Victoria is a much safer place than other places in Australia. Assaults on Indian students are under-represented in terms of population share. This is, in a sense, a statistical phenomena," The Age quoted Brumby, as saying.

Singh will return to New Delhi next week to update the Indian Government on the latest situation in Australia.

India, it seems, is just a step short of formally recalling its envoy - the strongest diplomatic signal of a country's displeasure.

Brumby maintains that great damage has been done to Australia's reputation by "unbalanced and inaccurate" media reporting in India.

"I stand by, unequivocally, the comments that I made. It's important in this discussion and this debate that there's some balance in the reporting and in attitudes that are expressed publicly," he said.

His calls for a more balanced coverage has provoked an angry response in sections of the Indian media.

India's top rating English news channel, Times Now, accused Brumby of trying a new "ploy to try and swing public opinion in its favour".

During a broadcast on the student crisis this week, Times Now asked viewers if the Australian government was "legitimising hate through a mix of inaction and evasion?" Almost 90 per cent of respondents said yes. (ANI)

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