Congratulations on what surely is a miraculous victory. You defied the pundits and the polls.
It wasn’t the Australian Financial Review or the Daily Telegraph that delivered you votes. Your victory proves that ultimately it isn’t inner-city journalists or the lobbies or the talking heads on TV sets that win elections.
It is real voters with real concerns. Voters like the readers of this newspaper.
Your party stands for maximising the opportunity for individuals. Please treat me as an individual. Don’t treat me as just a member of “the Muslim community” separate from broader Australia.
Don’t see Muslims as some single monolithically religious congregation who “should” know what is going on inside houses of worship we have never been to. Don’t impose an identity on us or play identity politics with us.
We are families, young and old. We run small businesses. We are professionals, students, academics, farmers, merchant bankers and teachers. We work in mining companies, in hospitals and in government departments. We serve in the military and in parliaments. Quite a few of us march on ANZAC Day.
We’ve been on this continent a long time. You can find our old mosques in Perth, Adelaide and Broken Hill. You can see cameleer grave sites in Broome and Menindee as well as military graves with Arabic inscriptions in Brisbane.
And we don’t often see each other as a singular “we”. We have numerous layers of identity – ethnicity, language and sect. Many of us, myself included, aren’t terribly devout.
I was appalled when some in the media mocked your worship and beliefs. Welcome to my world, and to the worlds of people too often deemed to be Muslim – Sikhs, Arab Christians, Orthodox Jews etc. When some snarled at your Pentecostal worship, the result must have been an enormous wave of solidarity from believers of all stripes.
As a believer, you must be familiar with the story of the toddler Christ and his mother fleeing from the tyrant Herod. Many among the first generation of Muslims were granted refuge by a devout Christian king in Abyssinia. Please show the same compassion to those seeking refuge here. Refugees make excellent citizens.
My faith teaches that God has even forbidden Himself from oppression and injustice. All of us are parties to the continued oppression and dispossession of indigenous peoples of this continent.
It’s wrong to assume that only those on the Labor side support indigenous empowerment. Your government includes Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous person to be elected to the House of Representatives. Your party preselected Neville Bonner, the first indigenous person to be elected to the Federal Parliament.
Perhaps one way to further indigenous empowerment is the Commonwealth entering into some kind of treaty, similar to the Waitangi Treaty in New Zealand. Or perhaps setting up an advisory board to enable First Nations to advise the Commonwealth on legislation affecting indigenous rights.
Once again, congratulations to you and your government. And may God bless Australia!