Strathfield candidate tackles racism during campaign

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Labor candidate in the Strathfield by-election, Jason Yat-sen Li, has spoken out against the racism he and his volunteers faced during the campaign.

Mr Li, who is expected to sit in parliament once the final results are announced, said: ‘It is not normal that I and the Labor volunteers have been subjected to racist comments from opponents in the voting booths whispered in the ears of voters “.

Jason Yat-sen Li, who is likely to win the Strathfield seat when the result is declared, with his proud parents, Pansy and George. Credit:Edwina Pickles

“It is not acceptable for the patriotism or loyalty of candidates or the Australian Labor Party to be questioned without any basis. And it’s not right for race to be used as a partisan political weapon for short-term gain, but with devastating long-term social consequences.

The rumor included comments that attempted to cast Mr. Li as a Chinese Communist Party sympathizer. Senior Labor Party officials have blamed the federal Liberal Party’s rhetoric on China as helping to fuel the accusations.

Addressing the Herald On Sunday, Mr Li, who had previously stood for the Bennelong federal seat, said Australia’s Chinese community had had “a very difficult couple of years with the geopolitical environment and that may have been one of the factors of their vote”.

In 2013, Mr. Li’s Liberal Party opponent in Bennelong, John Alexander, who won the seat, condemned racist posters that targeted Mr. Li. Some of Mr. Li’s election posters were defaced with comments such as “More Asians is not the face of Australia”.

Confident of winning the ethnically diverse seat of Strathfield after the counting of pre-election and mail-in votes, Mr Li is now preparing to move from his home in Cremorne to the Strathfield area, where his children are already enrolled in schools.

Half of the electorate is made up of foreign-born people in countries like China, India, Korea and Lebanon.

Mr. Li said he spent a lot of time talking to community groups.

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