The Sydney Morning Herald runs a summary of Greenway Labor candidate Ed Husic’s speech to the Sydney Institute from last night today. “The test for anyone running for parliament should not focus on religion,” he says. “It should focus on the potential contribution the person might make to the local community.”
Husic is bright enough to know that his background as a “non-practising Muslim” wasn’t the only reason why Labor lost the Sydney seat for the first time at last year federal election. But he has a point when he says he believes that “this use of religion as a campaign tactic was unbelievable in our country. It was un-Australian.”
“Its ramifications are significant because it weakens our community. It divides to conquer – at a time when we should be drawing together a united front, with all faiths working together to promote a secure, safer community.
“Know also that these tactics rippled through the minds of many Muslims. The Liberal Party is now trying to convince Muslims that they have nothing to worry about. Their religion isn’t an issue. But at this point in time, trust is much more valuable when it is earned, not demanded.
“There’s no denying that Muslims in Australia would like to see someone of their faith elected to parliament. The reason is simple: it would send a signal to both moderate and extremist.”