Whipping up Racism is not OK

Unfortunately racism is alive and well in NSW. In response to comments by Labor Leader Luke Foley about 'white flight' in Western Sydney, Jenny expressed concerns in the Parliament about members whipping up fear to score political points.


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (18:02): I acknowledge the member for Myall Lakes. I speak on behalf of the community in the Newtown electorate. We know in the electorate of Newtown that racism does not score political points and it does not in any way benefit our community. It should not be used in this Chamber or anywhere in the community as an attempt to whip up fear to gain an electoral advantage. I was completely appalled to see today the front-page article of theDaily Telegraph that said "Stop White Flight", not because I believe that the many people in the Labor Party who sit in this Chamber would be supportive of that message at all but because it is a sign of where we are at risk of heading as we go to the next State election.

People in the Newtown electorate are worried about racism. Whipping up fear about refugees and asylum seekers is not okay. What happened as a result of the article in today'sDaily Telegraph was more than offensive. It was suggested in the article that anyone Australian born was white and that anyone who was not Australian born was not white. That conflation of ideas is not correct. We need to realise that those sorts of comments will be taken out of context. I understand why the Leader of the Opposition expressed concern about the people who are living in Fairfield. The Liberals and Nationals have not listened to the community or delivered on community needs—public education, public hospitals, integrated planning and development and transport infrastructure. When I posted this article on Facebook people living in those communities expressed concern about this Government's lack of support and investment.

When we feed this sort of information to a newspaper such as theDaily Telegraph it does not take much to whip it into racist fear or to turn it into something that it is not. I urge people to be cautious. Earlier this month another article in theDaily Telegraph revealed that record migration was driving up rents in popular commuter suburbs, and not the failure of this Liberal-Nationals Government to provide infrastructure for two million people who are renting in this State. My community in Newtown has a clear choice about who should be governing New South Wales. This Liberal-Nationals Government is doing nothing to address the needs of the communities that we represent. This is not about the vested interests of the Liberal-Nationals Government. It should respect the community and not whip up fear. It should prosecute an argument that highlights its arrogance and its privatisation agenda.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Greg Aplin): I ask the member for Newtown to refer to matters pertaining to her electorate.

Ms JENNY LEONG: I am confident that people in my electorate do not like this arrogant Government. They would like to see a leadership change in this State, but not as a result of a campaign of racism and fear.

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