Keneally speaks to multicultural media representatives

Morrison Government making life harder for many during COVID era: Keneally.

Morrison Government making life harder for many during COVID era: Keneally.


(See Translation in Arabic section)

Sydney - M E Times Int'l: The NSW Deputy Labor leader Kristina Keneally held a virtual press conference this week to speak with multicultural media representatives. In the wide-ranging conference she spoke about the Morrison Government over-promising and under-delivering; the JobKeeper shortcomings, the need for a national anti-racism strategy; Arabic communities in Australia; the Victorian Labor Party; and go-slow citizenship processing of Afghans in Australia. The following is an edited extract of what she said.

“We're delighted to speak to media outlets from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds today. One in every two Australians was either born overseas or had a parent born overseas. I, myself, am one of those one-in-two Australians. So it's important we engage with such media outlets because modern Australia is multicultural. Media outlets such as yours do an important service in terms of informing debate and allowing the democratic conversation in this country remain healthy.”

 “During the COVID pandemic, Labor has sought to work with the government to address the health and economic impacts of this crisis. An unfortunate aspect of this crisis is too many people are being left behind by the Morrison Government. Sadly, you can't trust the government to deliver on their promises. Let me give you an example. The government promised its JobKeeper plan would keep employees connected to their employer during this crisis. However, the rules around JobKeeper have excluded over a million workers. So let me be clear; Labor welcomed the JobKeeper plan. But it is a good idea being implemented badly by the Morrison Government. People who have been purposely excluded from JobKeeper include a million casual workers, casual teachers, university staff, local government workers and airline workers. These are tax-paying workers being left behind by this government.”

 “Turning to the subject of anti-racism, it should be noted it has been over a decade since Australia has had an anti-racism campaign. Labor has been standing with communities and community organisations who recently signed a letter calling for such a campaign in Australia. A distressing aspect of the coronavirus crisis is we have seen a spike in racist sentiment in Australia. All of us should make clear that, here in the land of the fair go, we are all valued for who we are, not where we've come from or colour of our skin. I applaud the work so many multicultural organisations, media outlets and community groups have been doing in this field and pledge the Labor Party supports those efforts and the stand against racism.”

Ms Keneally said that Mr Anthony Albanese was pleased to meet with the Australian Arab Business Council earlier this month to discuss the economic recovery post COVID-19,” she said. “He had a Zoom meeting and they discussed jobs, infrastructure, immigration and the steps Australia can take towards economic recovery. Now, broadly, Labor has recognised the need for stronger communication with cultural and linguistically diverse communities. We focused on new ways of engaging with these communities so people may feel enfranchised by Australia's political system and feel valued by the ALP.”

“Well, sadly, this Liberal Government has used a range of methods to further punish refugees who arrived in Australia by boat. Many Afghan nationals have had to wait years for their citizenship and are still waiting when they have already been eligible for some time. With the many Afghanis, who have waited so long because of this Liberal Government, we have a blow out in citizenship application waiting time. Some 90,000 people have already qualified and haven't been able to go through with their citizenship. I cannot imagine how hard it is when you're unable to access family reunion or other forms of support, while you wait for the Department of Home Affairs to process your application. This is another example of Peter Dutton's incompetence, that he has allowed the citizenship application processes to blow out in such a fashion.”


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