December 8, 2022

Sea of ​​white faces at Australia’s ‘multicultural party’

MELBOURNE, Australia – He has emerged as a top political candidate who wants to call himself the most successful multicultural country in the world.

Dule, a young Australian lawyer and daughter of Vietnamese refugees, became the opposition Labor candidate for parliament in one of Sydney’s most diverse districts. She grew up nearby, works as a lawyer for exploited migrant workers and has the support of the current authority.

Then Mrs. Lee passed. Leaders of the center-left party, a stronghold of diversity, elected Christina Kenelli, a white American-born senator from Sydney’s wealthy northeast.

But Mrs. Lay, unlike she had been before, did not go quietly. She and other members of the political left have openly pushed the debate over the lack of cultural diversity in Australia’s halls of power, which lasted even after the country was transformed by non – European immigration.

Although a quarter of the population is non-white, members of minority groups make up only 6 percent of the federal parliament. According to the 2018 study. That number is far behind Australia, comparable to comparable democracies such as Britain, Canada and the United States.

In Australia, immigrant communities are frequently seen, but not heard of: photo opportunities and fundraising sites or voting camps, but often said by elected officials and party members that they will be suspended from electoral power. Now, they are demanding change after the Black Lives Matter movement and global calculations about race like an epidemic that crystallized Australia’s class and ethnic inequalities.

“Australia, where I live and where I work in parliament, are two completely different worlds,” said Greens Senator Mehreen Farooqi, Australia’s first female Muslim MP in 2013. We now know why they are two completely different worlds. Because people are not ready to be sidelined by this isolation.

The setback has reached the highest level of the Labor Party, which expects to overthrow Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the federal election to be held by May.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese, a white senator, said Mrs. Kennelly, 52, faced criticism when she was an immigrant.Success storyBecause she was born in the United States. Some party members called the tone deaf, and later blamed former Prime Minister Paul Keating. Said Local candidates say Ms Kennelly’s level of “administrative ability, if they can ever get there” is “many years to fight.”

Ms. Kennelly, one of the most senior members of the Labor Party, Told a radio interviewer She said she “deliberately decided” to look for a seat in southwest Sydney. She did so because it represents a marginalized community that “does not have a local member sitting at the highest level of government, a senior level at the cabinet table, I think they deserve.”

He plans to move to the district, he said. In the Australian Constitution, candidates for parliamentary seats are decided by party leaders or by internal vote of party members from that district. Candidates do not have to live in the district of their choice.

When contacted for comment, Ms Kennelly’s office recommended The New York Times for previous media interviews.

Chris Hayes, the senior legislator who vacated the Southwest Sydney seat, said Ms. Hayes has a deep connection to the community. He said he had approved the league.

“In Labor we not only say we are a party of multiculturalism, but it would be exciting to really show it on our face,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in March.

Mrs. Le, 30, said he believed the party leadership had set itself aside because it saw it as a “dick-the-box exercise” instead of a potential rival.

As an outsider, “the system was stacked against me,” he said. “I ‘did not spend my time, I did not’ spend my time ‘or have not been with faceless men or section bosses for many years.”

What she finds particularly disappointing about the decision of the working class is the message it sends: the party accepts the working class and the diaspora who rely on votes.

Former South Asian Racial Discrimination Commissioner Tim Southampton said Australia did not experience the same struggles over increased political representation for minority groups in other countries. In the 1970s.

This has created recognition for minority groups, however the “celebration” in the form of multiculturalism, stands for real involvement in food and cultural festivals, he said.

When ethnic minorities get involved in Australian politics, they are often pushed to be real representatives of their communities – talking about multiple cultural issues or being forced to recruit party members from the same cultural background – and then being punished for not being broad-minded.

“The expectation of the parties and the community is that you represent minorities and that a small part of your community comes from an ethnic background like yours,” said Elizabeth Lee, a Korean Australian. Of the Liberal Party of the Australian Capital Territory. “Those axes are very hard to break.”

Peter Khalil, a Labor member of parliament, said many racially diverse candidates would never come to parliament because their parties did not put them in a race to win.

During his own election half a decade ago, he was told to shave his coat because it “made him look like a Muslim.” (Mr. Khalil is a Coptic Christian.)

“They want to whiten you, they want to whiten you because there is a fear that you will scare people.”

In the Australian political system, it is not uncommon for a local candidate to be replaced by a high-ranking party member. After the popular Lebanese Australian candidate Michael Doc in 2007, Mr. Morrison was elected. Said He was recalled by the leaders of the center-right Liberal Party.

Ms. Kennelly moved to a safer working seat with the support of party leaders as she was in danger of losing her current seat. Her supporters were endorsed by a handful of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Middle Eastern community leaders.

Joseph Havel, mayor of a municipality in Melbourne and a member of the Labor Party, as a political activist from a refugee background, said he saw a vision of his future in the controversy over Ms Lee. Mr. Howell Assyrian, a minority group from the Middle East.

“The most important thing in politics – helping local communities, understanding your local community to help them as a public policy maker – is that you can spend many more years,” he said.

Osmond Xiu, 34, a party member from China and Australia, said, “The message it conveys is that culturally diverse representation is a reactionary thought in the labor sector that will always be sacrificed whenever there is no political facility.”

Ms. Lee spoke of the avoidance of others in the past, perhaps to secure future political opportunities. He said he was not sure what he would do next, but hoped political parties would think twice before making a decision as he expelled himself.

“It certainly knocks something very uncomfortable to discuss, but I think it should be transparent,” he said. “I don’t think people will stand for it anymore.”