By JAMILA RIZVI
The Governor General Quentin Bryce said yesterday that “this is a wonderful day for multiculturalism and everything it stands for in our country.” If only that were true.
Yesterday, Ed Husic became Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Broadband. He was also the first Australian to be sworn in as a member of the federal executive, by making their oath on Muslim holy book, the Qu’ran.
But what was a lovely ceremony, an important symbol of diversity, a great personal honour and a terribly exciting day for Husic and his family, was marred by the torrent of disgusting racist abuse on Husic’s Facebook page.
“You’re a disgrace to Australia,” said one. “No Muslims in Canberra! While Ed Husic is in Parliament I will never vote Labor ever again!” said another, keen to give their comment extra fire by coupling it with a ballot-box related threat.
“SO disappointing to read today you were proud to offend 98% of Australians” said a third, who is of the thoroughly misguided belief that the majority of Australians are ‘offended’ by the very presence of Muslims in our community.
“Our allegiance should have been to Queen and Country first Ed. That means saying the oath on the holy bible not the Koran…. Shame, Shame, Shame,” said one, who seems to think you can’t care about Australia unless you’re of the Christian faith. And finally “Australia is a christian nation READ THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION YOU CLOWNS !!!!” said someone who has quite clearly NEVER read the Constitution.
So for the benefit of that person – and any others who are outraged that PM Kevin Rudd didn’t bound over to Husic, crash tackle him, and gaffer tape a Bible to his palms – let’s run through a little refresher course shall we?
Section 116 of the Australian Constitution stipulates that ‘the Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion” and here’s the kicker for this particular occasion “no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust”.