Moslem MP branded a terrorist. Is there a fair go?

Armed police and a media lynch-mob terrorised Labor Upper House MLC Shaoquett Moselmane, his family, neighbours and friends. His parliamentary rights, civil liberties, privacy and reputation have been trashed.

If Shaoquett Moselmane was a white Christian MP from the Liberal Party or the NSW Nationals his life would be so much simpler. But he is the first Moslem MP in the history of the NSW Parliament, Australia’s first and oldest parliamentary institution, an outspoken friend of China, Palestine, indigenous Australians and refugees. He is a critic of the ratbag minority who are consumed by anti-Islam hatred.

What has he done in parliament? In September 2012 he instituted the Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards and in June 2014 he launched the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards.

Both successful initiatives were aimed at giving Aboriginal youth and the sons and daughters of migrant settlers a chance to learn about professional careers and raise themselves from a potential life of despair, depression, isolation, drugs, crime and prison.

Arriving in Australia in 1977 with his parents and 10 brothers and sisters, “Shock” attended James Cook Boys High School, earned a BA at Sydney University and a Masters Degree in politics from Macquarie University, became active in student politics, joined the ALP at 17 and then the Australian Republican Movement.

He opened a legal practice as a solicitor and in 1995 was elected to Rockdale City Council serving as mayor for three terms. He filled an Upper House vacancy following the resignation of Henry Tsang, a Chinese-born Australian who went to high school at Vaucluse and studied at Sydney University. Moselmane continued to build “significant bridges” between the Australian and Chinese communities and married Japanese-born Mika Fukata.

In his inaugural speech in 2010, he thanked Graham Richardson for his support. Big mistake. “Richo”, an ALP life member, is now supporting “Shock’s” expulsion along with everyone else on Rupert Murdoch’s pay roll.

Professor Stuart Rees, founder of the Sydney Peace Prize, has tracked Moselmane’s character assassination, writing in May this year that the MP was being pursued by an organised, well-briefed, right-wing hit squad. Rees collected data showing that between March 31 and April 10 there were 32 articles or broadcasts attacking Moselmane. (‘Character Assassination as Journalism & Politics’, Pearls and Irritations, 5 May 2020)

The witchhunt reached a demented crescendo on June 26 when Moselmane’s Rockdale home was raided by 40 uniformed and plainclothed officers from the Australian Federal Police (aka Peter Dutton’s FBI) and the spy agency, ASIO. Moselmane’s aged parents and young children were “terrified”.

The media was tipped off in advance. Before daybreak the street outside his home was filled with police, media and their vehicles. When sniffer dogs and their handlers arrived, someone in the crowd said: “Oh no, they’re looking for explosives.”

More cops arrived carrying two black boxes – one from Subways and the other Big Macs from Mcdonalds. It was enough junk food to feed a regiment. “Where’s the coffee?” a reporter asked. “It’s coming,” one of the cops replied.

One TV network covered the police jamboree live, telling its reporter: “This could be bigger than the Lindt Café siege.” Moselmane’s car was searched too. Dust, dirt and hair were bagged and taken away.

When the AFP and ASIO finally withdrew after 18 hours, the “terrorist siege” in Sydney was news around the world.

NSW Opposition leader Jodi McKay suspended Mr Moselmane from the Labor Party and said she wanted him thrown out of the Parliament as well. So does Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Mr Moselmane has not been charged with anything; Parliament has gone into a long winter recess; the Federal by-election in Eden Monaro is over; and Labor NSW is about to choose which two of three sitting Upper House MPs are selected for winnable positions on its Upper House ticket – Walt Secord, Parliament’s leading pro-Israel Zionist, Adam Searle or Shaoquette Moselmane.

The victimised MP told reporters: “Let me say it in plain English. I have never ever been on a Chinese government-sponsored trip. Never. I paid for all my own private overseas trips. Let me tell you, I have done nothing wrong. I have done nothing wrong. I have never jeopardised the welfare of our country and our people.”

In his first speech in Parliament, Moselmane pledged to give all Australians a “fair go” irrespective of race, colour or religion. Has he been given a “fair go” in return? No, he’s been chucked out.

Alex Mitchell latest book “Murder in Melbourne – The Untold Story of Palestinian exchange student Aiia Maarsarwe” can be ordered here.

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Alex Mitchell is a former Sydney Sun-Herald State Political Editor whose commentary appears every Friday. His latest book is Murder in Melbourne – The Untold Story of Palestinian exchange student Aiia Maasarwe.

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