Still confused, Labor or Liberal?

17 May 2019

Tomorrow, 18 May is the day of Federal Election, it will decide who will reach to the power. The environment had gone tensed where the parties are fighting to the last moment.

Liberal Party supporters claim Liberal has brought stability and are hopeful that Liberal will improve the economy of country, while on the other hand Labor Party supporters are claiming their party will bring equality and fairness. However, is it enough to decide on one party?

Philip Ruddock, who was Minister of Immigration and Citizenship during the government of John Howard from Liberal introduced a pathway in 1998 to bring “Qualified Migrants” to Australia. The pathway allowed qualified people to settle in Australia. President of “Liberal Friends of Nepal”, Shree Napit emphasizes, “We should acknowledge which party welcomed us and allowed us to stay, that is the most important part.”

“If we see the stats, between 2010 and 2015 during which Labor was in government, only 3000 Nepali were able to land here. However, now Nepal counts as the third largest source country for international students, which makes it clear which government is more welcoming”, Napit continued. However, Goba Katuwal from “Nepali Friend of Labor” says, “Liberal has reduced the number of skilled migrations by 30,000 per year.”

Chris Bowen from Labor, when he was Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, initiated the 3 years Parent Visa, which was important and helpful for South Asian community. The visa helped families to reunite and grandparents were able to look after their grandchildren. However, now Liberal is planning to cap the parent visa to 15,000 and family must choose which set of parents they want to bring with heavy fees.

Napit insists, “Liberal has provided a stable economy to Australia, unlike Labor. Sound economy is beneficial for all, and Liberal focuses in small business and job creation along with Health, education, physical infrastructure and security.” Meanwhile, Labor has promised to cut the high fee for parent’s visa, and family do not have to choose between the sets of parents.

The presence of Nepali community in Australia has already crossed six decades. Labor Party and Liberal Party are working hard to convince votes from Nepali community and other South Asian communities by announcing their commitment towards community centres.

Meanwhile, candidacy of Pramej Shrestha, from Liberal Party for the Electorate of Barton, who is of Nepali origin has emphasised the position of Nepali in the mainstream politics of Australia.

Further, Liberal party promised $1 million to build a new dedicated Nepalese community centre, later Labor party also followed the pathway and committed the same amount with additional budget for other South Asian communities.

There was increased involvement of these parties among Nepali community leaders during the election period. A fundraising dinner was organised by Nepali community members of Victoria in support of Peter Khalil, Federal member of Labor from Wills. David Coleman, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, attended the recent NRNA (Non-Resident Nepali Association) Oceania Regional meeting in NSW and announced his support towards the community.

The mainstream parties have given importance to this community during election period, which proves that the community has significance and their vote counts. Nepali community is one of the fastest growing community and comprises of highly educated members and intellectuals which provides the space for potential. Rather than limiting the importance to just election period, what counts the most is if Nepali community can play their part in policy making in national level.