Why am I running for the Senate?

Harris Sultan

As you know, the 2019 Federal elections on the 18th of May are fast approaching. We are divided between far-right bigots and far-left appeasers. Decency and common sense are the biggest casualties. On one hand we are seeing the rise of far-right politics promoting ultra-conservative nationalism. This alienates minorities and threatens our multicultural society, a proven safe haven for people from around the world who call Australia home. On the other hand, we are seeing far-left politics trying to silence free speech and stop people from having legitimate conversation on ideologies, politics and religion.

We are at a crossroads, and our decisions on the 18th of May will shape our future for a very long time. Can we afford to let right-wing ideologues spread anti-multicultural, anti-immigrant and anti-non-white rhetoric, and in the process risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of non-white people who live in Australia? Can we also afford to let far-left politicians silence legitimate discussions and debates that intend to further a free, Western and secular way of life of Australia? The choice is night and day, and the true progressives and classical liberals have to make a choice. We can’t let right-wing nut-jobs take over, but we also can’t let left-wing appeasers run amok.

I, as an immigrant, a non-white Australian, a secularist and above all a humanist liberal, recognise this and cannot sit on the sidelines. I am an ex-Muslim and an atheist who supports freedom of religion. I do not view Australia as a Christian country, nor do I believe Christianity is another word for good in this country. I also support freedom FROM religion, which is where I differ from far-left politicians, who discuss problems with Christianity but zip their lips when it comes to recognising the problems of other religions, particularly Islam. As a secularist, I believe people should be free to believe in whatever religion they want, or to not believe in any at all. Either way, religions should have no say in the government. They should not enjoy a privileged status when it comes to taxes or private religious schools. In principle, Australia is meant to be a secular country, but it is not behaving like one. Our Parliament sessions start with a prayer to God. Why is that? What about the Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists of Australia? Why should they listen to a prayer to the Christian god? This is why prayers should be confined to private spaces, like places of worship or houses, not public spaces.

I despise politicians like Senator Fraser Anning who divide people on the basis of their ethnicity, cultural background or religious affiliation. I also despise far-left politicians who want to give a free pass to certain groups in the name of diversity. We are a diverse country, but our core values are those of liberalism, tolerance, humanism and equality. Equality means everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, no one group should get special treatment, big or small, local or foreign. No one should subjugate women, discriminate against homosexuals or mistreat animals in the name of their cultural or religious freedom. We believe the climate is changing due to human activity, and that we must take steps today to ensure a sustainable environment tomorrow.

I see our politicians becoming more and more divisive, shifting their politics to the extreme ends of the political spectrum. This is why I am running for the Senate under the Secular Party of Australia. I need your votes so we can end anti-Muslim bigotry and bigotry of all sorts, racism, misogyny, homophobia and animal cruelty, while at the same time protecting our core values of tolerance, multiculturalism, humanism and secularism. I will advocate for these values in the Senate and no group, big or small, will be allowed to threaten our Australian values.

The latest Liberal Party candidate debacle shows how far extremists have penetrated mainstream right politics. Jessica Wheelan was a Liberal Party candidate who made horrible comments about Muslims. Liberal Party candidate Jeremy Hearn unveiled a conspiracy theory that Muslims are preparing to take over Australia. These kind of right-wing nut-jobs are getting more and more popularity because of the accommodating, non-confrontational attitude of regressive leftist parties who are too afraid to talk about real issues. People who are in the centre and fed up with being silenced by the meek left and are being pushed further towards the right. I believe the only solution is secularism and the protection of free speech and people’s right to speak about issues that affect them, without being silenced by allegedly progressive liberals that try to silence discussions about cultural issues.

I need your vote to beat people like Senator Fraser Anning and other closeted right wing nut jobs! If you are not eligible to vote, please ask your family and friends to vote for the Secular Party of Australia.

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