Statement: Independent investigation to end branch stacking in Victorian ALP

Statement: Independent investigation to end branch stacking in Victorian ALP

Poliversity urges the Victorian Labor Party to put an end to corrosive branch stacking once and for all by appointing an investigator independent of the party to examine concerning allegations raised at last week’s Administrative Committee meeting.

Last month, Fairfax Media revealed that gift cards had been used to pay for the memberships of union officials from the plumbers union and individual members. Unfortunately, these activities centred on factional operatives within the Australian Labor Party (ALP) taking advantage of individuals and communities from multicultural backgrounds.

“Poliversity wants genuine engagement between the ALP and multicultural communities. We are concerned that branch stacking activities only entrench the exploitation of members from multicultural backgrounds and undermines trust, said Jieh-Yung Lo, Co-Founder of Poliversity.

“To ensure members from multicultural backgrounds are no longer exploited, Poliversity strongly recommends an independent investigation to probe recent branch stacking allegations in the Victorian Labor Party.

“Members from multicultural backgrounds are not mere ballot numbers to be exploited for the personal political gain of a few. They are fellow Australian citizens who have an interest and stake in good public policy and like to express their own views on various issues. The ALP needs to provide more opportunities for these members to contribute to policy development in the party.

Poliversity welcomes the comments made by Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten and his call for action to eliminate branch stacking in Victoria. Poliversity strongly agrees with Bill Shorten that branch stacking has no place in the ALP.

“For the ALP to become a modern and inclusive political movement, it needs to build trust and confidence with Australia’s growing multicultural communities. Practices such as branch stacking need to be stamped out and the best way to achieve that is through introducing an investigation process that is independent and transparent”, concluded Mr Lo.

ALP defends diversity and multiculturalism

ALP defends diversity and multiculturalism

Poliversity congratulates the Australian Labor Party (ALP) for defending diversity and multiculturalism in Australia by announcing its opposition to the proposed amendments presented by Family First Senator Bob Day to water down Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA).

Led by Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism Michelle Rowland, the ALP is urging the Prime Minister to clarify his government’s position and pull the right wing of his party into line.

“Poliversity would like to acknowledge the ALP for their leadership in opposing this divisive bill and taking into consideration the feedback and concerns raised by the multicultural community”, said Jieh-Yung Lo, Co-Founder of Poliversity.

“Many multicultural leaders and organisations Poliversity has spoken to in the past week are very concerned that the watering down of Section 18C will open the gates for more hate speech against communities in our multicultural society.

“The weakening of the RDA will be detrimental to achieving greater opportunities to engage Australians of multicultural backgrounds to participate in the political and social process.

On Thursday 15 October, ALP Senators Sue Lines, Jenny McAllister and Lisa Singh spoke passionately in defence of Section 18C and the RDA as it stands and the importance to protect Australia’s multicultural communities against hate speech, racial discrimination and vilification.

While Poliversity supports the ALP’s position, we strongly urge the Shadow Minister and the ALP to stand firm and continue advocating the multicultural community’s concerns to the federal government, minor parties and crossbenchers to ensure the private member’s bill is defeated.

“After discussions with various community groups, they are concerned that there are still parliamentarians willing to support division and disunity within our multicultural society after the government’s decision to drop the changes to Section 18C last year.

“We believe the ALP needs to do more to convince the government and crossbenchers to acknowledge and accept the community’s concerns and reject the amendment”, said Mr Lo.

Poliversity aims to continue discussions with Australia’s multicultural leaders, representatives and organisations in the next few days to ensure their views, feedback and concerns on this issue are raised to the ALP for consideration.

Multicultural communities must speak out against Bob Day’s bill

Multicultural communities must speak out against Bob Day’s bill

Poliversity is encouraging Australia’s multicultural communities and their representatives to speak out against Family First Senator Bob Day’s bill to weaken Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA).

In a second attempt to water down the RDA, Senator Day’s bill is calling for the exclusion of the words “offend, insult” from paragraph 18C (1)(a). Currently, Section 18C of the RDA makes it unlawful to: “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people because of their race and ethnicity.”

As a response to Senator Day’s bill, Poliversity has been engaging and consulting with leaders and representatives of Australia’s multicultural communities to seek their views on the amendments.

“Removing the words “offend and insult” from the act will most definitely weaken the protection offered by the current legislation,” said Jieh-Yung Lo, Co-Founder of Poliversity.

“Poliversity believes the RDA as it stands protects the rights of all communities and there is no reason to amend it.

“Instead of weakening the RDA, what the Turnbull Government should be doing is working with communities to eliminate racism and hate speech and continue to introduce measures to building a more harmonious and inclusive Australian society.

In 2014, Attorney-General George Brandis proposed draft legislative amendments to remove Section 18C but was met with a swift response led by Australia’s multicultural and interfaith communities. According to documents obtained under freedom of information laws, more than 76 per cent of 4100 submissions opposed the proposal to repeal Section 18C. In addition to submissions to the government’s review, community groups drafted thousands of letters and staged public gatherings calling on the federal government to withdraw its proposal.

“We urge the Turnbull Government to listen to the community’s concerns expressed a year ago and not support these amendments.

Poliversity congratulates the Australian Labor Party (ALP) for announcing its position to oppose the bill and encourages the minor parties and the crossbenchers in the Senate to do the same.

“It is important for MPs and Senators to understand the importance of Section 18C in the RDA. Parliamentarians needs to demonstrate leadership and take a strong position on racism and hate speech and to ensure that the current legislation in place remains unchanged to protect communities from racial vilification and discrimination”, said Mr Lo.

In response to Senator Bob Day’s bill, Poliversity is encouraging multicultural community leaders and members to make contact with their Senate representatives before Thursday as the bill is listed for debate on Thursday morning.