FECCA, ATSIC push for strong campaign policy

Australia’s ethnic and Indigenous communities say both parties need to do more to promote harmony and reduce discrimination during an election campaign.

The Prime Minister John Howard has announced a federal election to take place on October the 9th.

The chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia, Abd Malak, says multicultural relations have been damaged by the war on terrorism, Iraq and refugee policy.

“We’re looking for a clear commitment from all political parties for a fair go for everyone, for people to have the right to live free from discrimination and racism, people have the right to contribute, we’re looking for a protection of specific migrants services like SBS, and specific migrant programs which is essential to contribute to the Australian community.”

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission says Aboriginal Australians will be looking for a strong plan for the future of Indigenous governance and reconciliation during the campaign.

The future of ATSIC is currently under consideration by a Senate inquiry, although most of its services and funding were absorbed into mainstream programs in July.

Chairman Geoff Clark, who has been placed back in charge of the body after a year-long suspension, says the future of ATSIC and Indigenous relations will be decided by this election.

“I believe that we need to now put the questions in this election period that Aboriginal people around this country need to now step forward, step up to the line, because I think it’s absolutely crucial in this next six weeks, that whoever is standing in whatever capacity or for whatever party in every part of this country, I think the Aboriginal people need to make their voice heard and to actually challenge what has happened in Aboriginal affairs.”

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