An Open Letter to Tony Abbott



Tony Abbott MHR,
Federal Member for Warringah,
Leader of the Opposition
Leader, Liberal Party of Australia

I wish to draw your attention to the petition being tabled by the Hon Warren Entsch of your party, calling upon the Australian House of Representatives to declare the killings of thousands of Sikhs in India in November 1984, an act of Genocide.

I am not sure if you are aware of this petition being tabling inside Australian Parliament.

At a time when both countries are desperately trying to build people to people links and find common causes, this development by Hon Warren Entsch has the potential to derail these efforts. Just last week we had the Prime Minister Julia Gillard visit India and we also had the NSW Premier, Barry O Farrell in India to establish these connections.

India is a complex country and despite all the good governance, some of the communities and regions had to face the wrath of the State because they have unfortunately been on the wrong side. My own family had to leave Kashmir in India and were forced to abandon our homes and then sell our property at dirt prices. Over 300000 people had to forcefully leave their homes in this state as terrorists across the border created chaos in Indian part of Kashmir. But it would be wrong for me to wash the dirty linen of my motherland in the Parliament of another country and equally wrong for the Parliamentarians of other countries to pass resolutions and create theatrics inside Parliament.

Australia is now home to migrants of many complex societies and politicians from all sides do indulge in expressing sympathy for theses migrants for the pains they have suffered in their countries of origin. This is usually done by attending their functions and the matter ends there.

In this case, I find it totally atrocious and appalling that Hon Warren Entsch plans to use the Australian House of Representatives to discredit India. While this may please a certain section of people, this will alienate the wider Australian Indian community and will force them to distance themselves from the Liberal Party.

Over the last few years Australian Indian community has been trying to get closer to the Liberal party both at Federal and State level, and while this petition may help Hon Warren Entsch find fringe support in his area, this will damage Australian Indian communities relationship with Liberal Party.

This issue has also the potential of becoming headline news in India, like the Indian students issues and would be tagged as the opinion of the larger Liberal Party and this is the last thing we need.

I request you to take steps in disciplining Hon Warren Entsch and ask him to tone down his rhetoric in the larger interest of the community. I request you to please advise Hon Warren Entsch to limit his newly found affection and sympathy towards this group inside his own electorate.

Certain sections of the Sikh community have a legitimate right to protest and a democratic system does give space for those protests but for a member of a Federal Parliamentary Party, which is one the verge of forming the next Government, to use this opportunity for cheap short term political gains and raising this inside the Federal Parliament is extremely deplorable.

I am flagging this issue with the senior leadership of the Liberal Party (which includes Hon Joe Hockey, Hon Julie Bishop and Hon Malcolm Turnbull, Hon Barry O’ Farrell) as this issue has the potential to create division and misgivings between the larger Australian Indian community and the Liberal party.

Tony Abbott, Leader, Liberal Party of Australia

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