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Indian migrants' hopes dashed in Australian polls PDF Print E-mail

© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

Sydney, Nov 26 (IANS) With a six percent swing to the Australian Labor Party, hopes were dashed of Indian-origin candidates who contested Saturday's parliamentary election on lesser-known party tickets.

Two Liberal Party of Australia candidates of Indian-origin did score substantial votes, but with their party routed, there was no hope against 'Kevin07' - the star Labor leader who swept the polls with his policies on education, health, climate change and a vow to scrap work choices legislation.

In Victoria, Dr Conrad D'Souza, a toxicologist contesting on the Liberal Party ticket from Jagajaga, received 26,394 or 37.4 percent of the votes.

In New South Wales, Karen Chijoff, who was contesting the seat of Lindsay on a Liberal Party of Australia ticket, received 26,077 or 37.9 percent of the votes. The western Sydney electorate of Lindsay recorded a 10.1 percent swing to the Labor Party of Australia after the race-linked bogus leaflet scandal.

The husband of Chijoff and the husband of outgoing Liberal Party MP Jackie Kelly were two days before the election caught in the act of distributing a bogus leaflet from a fictitious Islamic group claiming the Labor Party wanted the Bali bombers forgiven.

Greg Chijoff was caught red-handed by Labor Party officials distributing the flyer in his wife's electorate, striking a deathblow to his wife's chances of retaining the marginal seat for the Liberal Party.

Karen's parents, Kay and Trevor Correy who hail from India, told the Sydney Morning Herald that they were shocked and disgusted at their son-in-law's involvement. "We are a mixed-race family, we are not racist. I am so angry - I don't know what I would do if I saw him."

The incident earned the wrath of John Howard and all Liberal Party faithful, who have strongly decried the incident and partly blamed it for their party's debacle in the polls.

Twenty-year-old Sukrit Sabhlok, a student living in Melbourne had contested as the Liberty and Democracy Party candidate for the Victorian seat of Corangamite. He received only 139 votes or 0.2 percent.

The story of other contestants hasn't been much different. In New South Wales, Yusuf Tahir, a schoolteacher and taxi driver who stood as an independent from the Prime Minister Howard's Bennelong constituency received 82 or 0.1 percent of the total votes.

Neerav Bhatt, an IT Consultant, fared better standing for the Greens from Werriwa with 2,458 or 3.6 percent of the votes.

In Victoria, Mukesh Garg, an academic and accountant, who stood for Family First from Gellibrand, received 1376 or 2.0 percent of the votes. Similarly, Surome Singh, a student running for La Trobe seat on Liberty and Democracy Party received 57 or 0.1 percent of the votes.

Suryan Chandrasegaran, a solicitor from MacMillan contesting for Democratic Labor Party, received 601 or only 1.0 percent of the votes.

In Queensland, Shalina Najeeb, a solicitor standing from Groom received 511 or 0.7 percent of the votes and Maaz Syed, an aeronautical engineer running from Forde received 323 or 0.5 percent of the votes. Both contested the elections on Australian Democrats ticket.

In Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Farida Iqbal, a student standing for the Socialist Alliance Party from Fraser received 437 translating to just 0.5 percent votes.

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