Moreton and its “exhausting” refugees

One of the seats I have visited a lot of during this campaign has been the Brisbane based seat of Moreton, which has been held by the Liberal’s Gary Hardgrave since 1996. He currently holds it by a margin of less than 3 per cent. My estimation of him went down dramatically when he weighed in supporting Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews public vilification of refugees who have come here from Africa, saying his electorate was “exhausted by the influx of African refugees“.  This was a particularly damaging comment, as his electorate has the highest percentage of African born people in Queensland. It also has the highest percentage of Muslims of any seat in Queensland, and they of course are also quite sensitive about politicians who are prepared to target minorities, particularly in the light of Kevin Andrews’ political misuse of the Migration Act in the Dr Haneef debacle. Gary Hardgrave didn’t speak out in support of the Muslim community then either. The Democrats candidate in this seat, Emad Soliman, is a Muslim and a migrant originally from Egypt, who is doing a PhD at Griffith University in the heart of the electorate.

It is always hard to be completely certain about these things, but I’ve been getting a very consistent message from a range of sources that the Liberals have all but given up on this seat. Certainly if Labor hopes to win government, this a seat they simply have to win.  If Gary Hardgrave is exhausted by having so many refugees in his electorate, perhaps he needs a break from his current job. If there does turn out to be a particularly strong swing away from the Liberals in this seat at the weekend, hopefully it will be seen as an indication that targeting minority groups in the community is not a political winner.

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  1. The Liberals look even more stupid to me than on Sunday last,and I have spent the day time chipping out prickles with a agricultural hoe.But the story from Jackie Kelly’s own home is an amazing one on Muslim related racism.I just however ,caution the Democrats on this, because even if the Liberals are well and truly booted out,racism still can persist,as Iemma government hasnt really mastered how to achieve peace with under twenty-five year olds and their normal bravado derring-do and recklessness.The Sudanese may need to offer up some solutions and observations in that relationships become easier.Emad seems a worthy Candidate,and he might have to compare himself with Joh Bjelke,ex New Zealander ,to prove outsiders completely have won government in Queensland,and approach it… the election for the next few days like giving a boot to a winning goal or a smash for six..outscoring others on confidence..whilst unashamedly thinking there are State Council And Federal elections for the would be,who start to really appeal on a personal basis. Against all odds.If they dont vote for him, at least they think he is a good man,they might want to see somewhere else.

  2. This is completely Off Topic, but I just heard your interview on R N Breakfast. I thought you dealt well with a surprisingly hostile Fran Kelly. Best wishes for Saturday, and I hope you make her eat her words!

  3. If the majority of voters based their decision on who the best candidate is rather than who their grandfather voted for, Emad would romp it in. The same can be said for quite a lot of other candidates in lower house seats, whether they be democrat or independent or whatever.

    In my more cynical moments I know that the unfortunate reality is that a less than ideal party hack who has worked his/her way to the top of the shit heap in one or other of Liberal or Labor is going to win the seat and find a comfortable spot on the back bench to park and vegetate for the next three years or so.

    But in my more idealistic moments I dare to hope that perhaps this time votes will cast their vote on merit and Emad – and others like him – will indeed romp it in.

    What a brave new dawn that would be.

    Good luck to both you and Emad, Andrew.

  4. It is little comments like those from the Libs (and the recent furore involving Jackie Kelly and Karen Chijoff’s husbands in Lindsay) that betray the fact that some in the Liberal Party are more than happy to engage in a spot of race-oriented dog-whistling in times of electoral need.

  5. Gary Hardgrave will lose his seat – mainly due to “Workchoices” legislation. No need to worry about him.

  6. I’m not in Qld, but I wish you and Emad well tomorrow Andrew. I feel such shame when people/politicians are racist, and as Philip Travers points out, the end of the Coalition won’t signal the end of racism. If only….

    I wonder what conversations take place in the homes of Jackie Kelly and her aspirational heir apparent – the mind boggles. What a terrible example to her children to show them, that you can use racism and deceit to win – the only crime is getting caught, otherwise known as breaking the 11th commandment.

    As I write the polls are showing the Coalition behind by 52-48! Very strange! I feel sick now!

    Oh well, we’ll know tomorrow, thank goodness! I’ve been ready to vote Howard out for over 11 years. If the people elect him again, all I can say is, ‘you’ll get the government you deserve’! The ALP is not ideal by any means, but there is hope of a positive desire for change – in all areas. But sadly, those who are marginalized and not rich will also suffer, and they deserve better!

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