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Ethnic communities raise their voices in wake of plebiscite decision

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Independent political activist Milan Maksimovic (right, pictured at the Festival for the Family in Sydney on October 8) says the major parties can no longer take the votes of people in ethnic communities for granted, particularly when it comes to religious freedom and same-sex marriage. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

A group of deeply concerned ethnic Australians from Sydney’s Western suburbs fear their communities no longer have a voice in the Australian Parliament.

Representatives from the Assyrian, Chinese, Coptic, Greek, Maltese, Serbian and Vietnamese communities met on Monday, November 20 at Fairfield to express their concerns about the push from MPs to redefine marriage in law by Christmas, without first ensuring freedom of speech and religion are protected.

They have warned that how they vote at the next federal and state elections will depend on the way local members represent them on the issue of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

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“We are not happy that the Federal Government is suggesting they first pass the changes to the Marriage Act and then, second, to put in place protections for our freedoms. It should be the other way around,” said independent political activist and former federal candidate for the seat of McMahon, Milan Maksimovic.

“Changing the Marriage Act without putting in place adequate protections will leave all Christians and other ethnic communities outside of the law. We want the right to raise our families in the way we always have and to not be persecuted for speaking about marriage as being between a man and a woman.”

The group plan to write letters to their local MPs and Senators asking them to take action to ensure the legislation for same-sex marriage will protect the core freedoms of society and the right of parents to remove their children from curriculum teaching radical gender theory, like Safe Schools.

Macquarie Fields resident George Abraham, who is a member of the Assyrian Orthodox community, said he has already sent emails and letters to local MPs.

“We have chosen them to represent us but we did not give them carte blanche to do as they please.

“I’m concerned about what is happening in this wonderful country, what is happening to our values, and concerned about what is happening to our children and grandchildren and the future of the family unit.

“If the five million people (who voted ‘No’), work together we can affect the change that is right.”

Pointing out that between 55 to 70 per cent of their communities in the Western suburbs voted ‘No’ in the postal plebiscite, Mr Maksimovic said, “Major parties, Labor and Liberal, cannot afford anymore to depend only on a simple platform for Western Sydney with Medicare, immigration and citizenship propaganda to win the ethnic vote.”

“This issue is about protection for our families, our faith and our freedoms and it is more important than any party platform,” he said.

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