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Ethnic branch stacking deserves censure



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and Ethnic Affairs

MEDIA

Senator Jim Short

Shadow Minister for Immigration istina the Leader on Multicultural Affairs

IMEA 26/94

Ethnic Branch Stacking Deserves Censure

The evidence of widespread branch stacking within the Labor Party, using different ethnic groups as cannon fodder, is a disgusting development which deserves the censure of all Australians.

Those who are encouraging Labor Party branch stacking along ethnic lines are exploiting and manipulating ethnic communities for the most base of political motives.

The long term damage that this could cause to multiculturalism in Australia is incalculable. What it does is to build a perception in the mainstream Australian community of division between groups of Australian citizens on the basis of their ethnic background.

All Australians should be encouraged to join the political party of their choice. But they should do this as inclividrinls, and on an informed, eyes open basis. They should not be manipulated and exploited to join on a mass basis as the Labor Party has been doing

with certain ethnic groups.

The remarks today by the Prime Minister's Parliamentary Secretary for Access and Equity Matters, Dr Andrew Theophanous, that branch stacking is simply a means of allowing people of non-English speaking background to exercise their democratic rights is ludicrous and hypocritical. It is ironic that the person responsible for the Government's

Access and Equity Policy implementation should hold and express such views, which are the very antithesis of "a fair go".

If the Prime Minister has any . sense of propriety, and any serious commitment to multiculturalism, he should sack Dr Theophanous immediately.

Melbourne 12 July 1994

For further information contact Richard King on 03-417 1499 (office) or 03-329 1525 (home)

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