Shaoquett Moselmane- A Principled Parliamentarian removed by NSW Labor

Nov 21, 2022
Shaoquett Moselmane looking to camera - valedictory speech to NSW parliament . Image: Supplied

Many ask me why I am leaving the NSW Parliament. To be frank, certain political forces wanted me out. The decision was then taken to remove me. It was falsely put in the media that I wanted to retire. It was not true.

Foreword by Stuart Rees

It is a significant event when a long serving MP summarises his years of service with gratitude for the opportunity to serve, coupled with generous comments about powerful members of government and media who treated him badly. Shaoquett Moselemane has been an invaluable politician, but penalised for courageous stands on behalf of Palestinians, members of Chinese communities, Indigenous Australians and multiculturalism. His record and the following article highlight Australia’s loss when a principled, selfless politician is removed from parliament. There are too few like him.

– Stuart Rees

Valedictory Speech by Shaoquett Moselmane MLC, 19 October 2022

Many ask me why I am leaving the NSW Parliament. To be frank, certain political forces wanted me out. The decision was then taken to remove me. It was falsely put in the media that I wanted to retire. It was not true.

I am however honoured to have been a member of the Australian Labor Party [ALP] for the past 40 years, during which time I served 16 years as a local councillor, deputy mayor and mayor, and 12 years as a member of this Parliament.

I was honoured to be the first member of the Islamic faith to be elected to the New South Wales Parliament. I am the first in any State and Federal parliaments. It was a rare privilege for which I can only be grateful.

How do you sum up 12 parliamentary years in a 30‑minute valedictory speech? I found it dauntingly difficult. So I cherry-pick and recount some of the important things I was able to do over the years. I am proud of what I have achieved for multicultural communities in New South Wales, as in opening many doors to this Parliament.

I understand new Australians. Many vote Labor without hesitation. Labor was their party of choice—like my dad, who is 86 years old, a rusted‑on Labor man. You could not speak highly enough of Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating and Bob Hawke. “Real leaders,” he would say. The abiding belief in Labor, however, is slipping away.

Following the onset of the pandemic, racism against the Chinese Australian community has seen them ostracised and dehumanised. They do not deserve the terrible ill-treatment they received during the pandemic. Australia and China must reset their relationship and base it on mutual respect and understanding, which will require continued open dialogue at all levels.

I was privileged to raise awareness of the plight of Indigenous Australians amongst many of our multicultural communities and advocated for justice for a people colonised, dehumanised, dispossessed, impoverished and incarcerated while justice continues to be denied. I established the first ever National Indigenous Human Rights Awards in the country, recognising so many social justice warriors and celebrating their achievements. I was honoured to have moved a motion to raise the Aboriginal flag in this Chamber and be part of the delivery of $73 million in financial reparations for the Stolen Generations.

It is now over 230 years since colonisation, yet we are still a long way away from reconciling with our First Nations people. I hope soon we can at least answer the Uluru call and enshrine a First Nations Voice in our Constitution and into Parliament to give Indigenous Australians the platform they need to articulate their concerns and to define their rights.

I have always stood up for justice for the Palestinian people. Justice is a matter of principle, and human rights are universal rights. Never does a day go past without a Palestinian being incarcerated or murdered, or an olive tree uprooted. Never does a day go past without a Palestinian home being demolished. The people of Palestine deserve to live in peace on their own land in their own State.

All lands must be returned to their rightful owners. Israel must return the Shebaa Farms to the Lebanese and the Golan Heights to the people of Syria.

I am proud to have made some small but positive changes in this House. I am proud to have introduced the Holy Koran and the Bhagavad-gita, the Hindu holy book, into this House. I am proud to have worked hard to raise funds to support people around the world who have been victims of natural disasters and for organising the many shipments of wheelchairs to thousands of children with disabilities around the world.

Before I conclude, I cannot but make mention of the terrible Australian Federal Police ordeal that my family and I went through. On Friday 26 June 2020 the Australian Federal Police raided my home. At that time, the Australian Federal agent said to me, “As I have reiterated to you a number of times, you are not considered a suspect in relation to this investigation.” As noted by the Privileges Committee, the Australian Federal Police search warrant did not allege that I had committed any offence under Commonwealth legislation. So who decided that it was necessary to raid my home and for the media to accompany the Federal Police?

I am grateful to a journalist who shed some light on these questions by sharing freedom of information material with me that revealed the raid was being discussed with government departments by Australian Federal Police media, and whole-of-government talking points were being drawn up a week before they even got the warrant. Maybe it was supposed to be a top‑secret espionage raid, but the media beat the police to the scene of their own search warrant. They were waiting and filming when police arrived. I will not recount any further what happened. Suffice to say that it was traumatic and painful. It was no different to the tactics used by countries we describe as authoritarian. I am glad that I was fully cleared of any wrongdoing.

I am eternally grateful to all those who stood by me or supported me in my time in community and in Parliament, too numerous to name.

I close by noting that we share an incredible country: a land of diversity, of democracy and humanity. I thank you for the honour and the privilege to have served you.

For the full content of valedictory, click on the link below:

Legislative Council Hansard – 19 October 2022 – Proof (nsw.gov.au)

Post script:

The NSW ALP has a difficulty in recognising quality people.

Before the May 1991 NSW state election, Eddie Obeid and Graham Freudenberg and others stood for ALP pre-selection for the NSW Upper House.  Graham Freudenberg, who was later awarded Life Membership of the ALP was supported by Michael Easson, Secretary of the NSW Labor Council and Bob Carr. Graham was one of the most decent people I have ever known. He was a ‘Labor Man’ almost like no other. But Graham Richardson, impressed by Eddie Obeid’s ability to raise and donate money, threw his weight behind Obeid. Graham Freudenberg was demoted down the ticket. Obied was pushed up into a winnable position.

Shortly after the 1991 State election, a casual vacancy in the Upper House occurred and Eddie Obeid was chosen.  Graham Richardson had finally got his man in place. But the possible future parliamentary career for Graham Freudenberg was dashed.

Strange people have run and still run the NSW ALP – John Menadue

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