Minister Alan Tudge MP’s good work & good will ruined by his Asst. Minister Jason Wood MP
Stories about COVID19 and its economic and xenophobic side effects in Australia, have appeared in several mainstream media in Australia in the last few weeks and are best summarized recently by The Saturday (Melbourne 22-28 Feb 2020 ) with the headline “COVID-19: Racism, economics and the aftermath’ and discuss concerns about Chinese-owned businesses struggle through a downturn and the questions remain about whether Australia’s coronavirus response stoked racist fear.
Minister Alan Tudge MP meet with community leaders to offer partnership strategies to combat economic downturn and racists fears about COVID19 (Coronavirus). Among the leaders present with Minister Tudge and Regional Director Sneha Chatterjee were Tony Tang, Dr Tony Pun OAM, William Seung OAM, Tony Pang and Dickson Mak.(inset) and John Alexander MP (Federal Member for Bennelong. The function was held on 19 Feb 2020 at DHA office in NSW.
Present at the round table conference was Prof Kelly (Chief Health Officer for the Australian Capital Territory and Deputy Director General of Population Health in the ACT Government Health Directorate) who answered question about the Coronavirus and travel ban policies of the government. The community supports the travel bans imposed by the government and refute that this policy is “racists” but a necessary precaution to protect the health of all Australians.
The Community congratulate Minister Tudge for the leadership in bringing a sensible and logical reaction to the spread of the Coronavirus to the Australia public; and urged all Australians to unite and fight the epidemic.
Our joy did not last long when we were confronted with extremely concerning report on Sunday, (SBS report 1March2020), in which the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Jason Wood MP shared a report on Asian food markets with a comment blaming them for the deadly coronavirus which has spread from China throughout the world. Mr Wood also posted on Facebook “Apart from being disgusting, Asian wildlife markets will lead to pandemics in the future.” https://www.sbs.com.au/news/liberal-mp-jason-wood-accused-of-fear-mongering-over-disgusting-asian-animal-markets-post
This comment attracted a response from the Labor's spokesperson on Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles MP, who criticised Mr Wood, saying he should be working to “unite Australians. “Rather than engaging in shameless click baiting and fear-mongering, why isn’t he keeping people informed and working to unite Australians?” Mr Giles wrote on Facebook.
The Coronavirus (COVID19) epidemic has stimulated public fears in Australia and worldwide and is particularly nasty with xenophobic side effects which has led to increase in reports of racism targeting Asian Australians (particularly Chinese Australians) with online and verbal attacks on public transport and other public places.
The remarks of Jason Wood MP totally negate the great work and effort done by Minister Alan Tudge MP. In short, Mr Wood has sabotaged the government’s good work, good will and confidence when it comes to dealing with racism in Australia.
It would not be surprising that Mr Wood’s inflammatory remarks have given credibility to those people raising concerns about Asian-Australian medical staff treating their children. at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne recently.
For Mr Woods, it is not the first time he had been accused of making racist comments on social media. Last year, he wrote in Facebook that the “behaviour being displayed by African youth gangs was sickening and disgusting.
We believe that Mr Wood’s remarks as an Assistant Minister for Multiculturalism is highly inappropriate and it is not the first time. His position in the Multiculturalism portfolio, is now untenable.
In joint media release by the Multicultural Communities Council of NSW, the National Sikh Council of Australia and the Chinese Community Council of Australia, which represents the multicultural communities including the 1.2 million Chinese Australians, had requested PM Morrison to remove Mr Woods from this portfolio of national importance which deal with the unification and harmony of our diverse multicultural society.
In conclusion, it is not only essential to teach just the aborigines, ethnic and migrant communities regarding our successful multicultural policies encompassing mutual respect, tolerance; acceptance, understanding and to appreciate one another’s differences and success stories. We should also extend the education to our members both State and Federal Parliaments and wider White Australian communities and locally born citizens as well.
Dr Anthony Pun, OAM, National President, CCCADr Ka Sing ChuaNational Senior Adviser, CCCA