上一屆大選, 廖嬋娥議員以約1000票勝出後, 一直以來被媒體指為與中國關係密切受到批評, 更被曾參加2019年香港抗爭運動的年輕人莫熾滔指為共產黨代理人, 發動為要取去支持廖嬋娥500票而參選 (不過最後莫熾滔因為在最後一小時遞交參選表格, 而其中名字與選民名冊上登記名字不同而被取消參選資格)。工黨亦派出重量級義大利裔維州工會議會助理秘書長嘉瑞娜嘉蘭 (Carina Garland) 參選, 務求要擊敗廖嬋娥, 取得奇瑟姆這一議席。
自宣佈大選後, 四周內總理莫里森到訪奇瑟姆選區兩次, 前工黨總理陸克文及工黨在參議院領袖黃英賢陪同嘉瑞娜到訪奇瑟姆選區, 爭取華人支持, 相信工黨領袖阿巴尼斯都必然到訪, 可見兩黨都極度重視這選區的結果。主流傳媒亦極重視這議席, ABC的電台主持Raf Epstein, 在上周四直播接近半小時廖嬋娥與Carina Garland在選區內大型商場Glen內的選舉論壇, 由現場觀眾向兩位候選人提問。
在微信這訊息平台上, 廖嬋娥早前表明不再使用這由中國監控把莫里森總理公眾號賣掉的平台, 因此大部份訊息都是宣傳工黨政綱及攻擊自由黨為主。其中傳開的內容多是歪曲事實, 沒有來源出處, 無法核實或追究責任的訊息。到底這些訊息是否為大部份人所接受, 有研究者指出是仍未可知。有主流媒體報導,自由黨的支持者, 亦有發佈不實信息。不過, 可以說的是微信上信息描寫的自由黨是已經失去人民支持, 而莫里森總理, 更是極不受歡迎及沒有任何誠信的領導人。
亦有曾參選墨爾本巿長的獨立華裔候選人曾瑋煌, 以爭取得4%選票為目標, 向兩大政黨提出要求把所提出的訴求, 列入它們的競選承諾來作為撥票的交換條件。
值得探討的是, 在這區內的數萬名華裔選民, 他們該以怎樣的立場來考慮運用手上的一票, 來決定未來三年, 哪一個政黨能管理好澳洲呢? 以候選人對中國是否友善, 或支持澳洲對中國持友善政策來決定, 又是否會給澳洲帶來最大利益呢?
The marginal seat of Chisholm
Over this 6-week Federal Election campaign, we can’t find a contest in any other electorate as critical as in Chisholm.
Gladys Liu, who won the last election by about 1000 votes, has been under media’s allegation for her pro-China stance. Max Mok, a Hong Kong’s 2019 democracy fighters, launched a campaign to pull 500 votes at the next election out from her as a Communist Party’s agent. (But in his last-minute registration submission he was disqualified due to personal data discrepancy.) Labor also nominated notable Carina Garland, the Victorian Trades Hall Council assistant secretary with an Italian background, for the fight in Chisholm against Gladys.
Over the past 4-week campaign period PM Morrison has visited Chisholm twice, while Labor ex-PM Kelvin Rudd with Senator Penny Wong also staged a visit to the electorate in search for more support from the Chinese community; Opposition leader Anthony Albanese could follow. This is a highly marginal seat for both parties. Same for the mainstream media, last Thursday ABC radio host Raf Epstein covered their 30-minute live election debate forum in Glen with questioning time from the floor.
Since Gladys stated that she would be quitting the Chinese-prone WeChat platform, all propaganda there become one-sided to Labor’s advantage, distorted and unverified. It is not sure how influential it will be on the election, given the mainstream media also contain biased reporting from the Liberal supporters. Obviously through the eyes of WeChat, Liberal has lost the public support and Morrison has lost his popularity and integrity as a leader.
Wayne Tseng, who had competed in the Melbourne Mayor election, also offered both parties his preferential votes with his aimed collection of 4% votes from this electorate, provided they agreed to include his agenda item into their respective election pledge.
The important point is, in deciding which party should rule us for the next three years, how the tens of thousand of votes coming from an ethnic Chinese background should go? Should it be based on whether the candidates are friendly to China, or support Australian policies be friendly to China, or they are working in the best interest of the nation?
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher