It was a privilege today to be the first Member of Parliament to sign the Edmund Rice Centre’s pledge, calling on all candidates to not blow the dog whistle this election.
In signing this pledge I have committed to stand up to dog whistle politics in the next term of Parliament and work to improve public debate and discourse on issues such as race, immigration, refugees and asylum seekers.
This is something I have always sought to do, both in the Parliament and in my local community.
In 2006 I stood up to the Prime Minister, John Howard, and said in the Parliament that we had seen a return to the era of dog-whistling.
I said, “It is not leadership to be prepared to divide the community—people against people.
It is not leadership to be prepared to appeal to the base considerations of prejudice and discrimination.”
In 2012 when Tony Abbott called asylum seekers “illegal arrivals”, I moved a point of order which said, “The Leader of the Opposition is misleading the House with the term he is using and he should not be allowed to do so.”
Again in 2013 when Tony Abbott used the term “illegal arrivals” I moved another point of order and said, “The Leader of the Opposition knows that, under the law prevailing under both the former government and the current government, it is not illegal to seek asylum.”
Many people from all walks of life have made their home in my electorate of Grayndler.
It is this diversity that has made the inner west such a vibrant, culturally rich place to live, work and play.
Dog whistle politics has no place in Australia.