Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Violence Should Not Be a Part of Politics; Liberals Brawl in Sydney Cafe Shows the Infiltration of Religion

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Violence Should Not Be a Part of Politics; Liberals Brawl in Sydney Cafe Shows the Infiltration of Religion

Article excerpt

Byline: Colin Claridge

ONE'S enjoying a nice meal, possibly with family or friends, in a cafe when the ambience is abruptly ruined by a group of thugs who start laying into other patrons. People are punched, mobiles are smashed then, as the police arrive, the thugs decamp.

You'd be forgiven perhaps for your first response ranging from "another Sudanese street gang" to "bikie intimidation". Or perhaps, Sydney's underbelly are at it again.

But no.

What diners in a Sydney cafe witnessed were factional Liberals at their worst. There was once a time (not that long past) when this sort of thing was the exclusive realm of NSW Labor. This time, it's alleged this was the climax of a turf war between Coptics and Muslims for control of their Liberal Party branch.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: there is absolutely no place in the Australia I grew up in for ethnicity or religious faiths to be a basis for political movements. We do not operate our democracy as other countries such as Lebanon, Egypt or India might. We do not need and neither should we tolerate the emergence of politics based on one's ethnic origins or religions. And we should certainly make it clear to our secular parties that they need to up their game to ensure their branches aren't infiltrated and taken over.

Earlier this year, the Liberal State Executive in Victoria was taken over by a group closely aligned to the former Family First and a certain group who purports to be a Christian Church. The pre-selection of a number of Liberal MPs is now under threat, primarily because the new state executive doesn't think they are ultra-Conservative enough. That's regardless of how popular those MPs might actually be in their electorates.

I suppose sometimes you'll get a politician who approaches their political beliefs with the fervour of a zealot. …

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