(Please see an English version below)
墨爾本的朋友，十月尾是council選舉，大家有票一定要投。筆者是一名普通選民，從沒有接受政治訓練，也沒有從事評論工作。這個項目只單純從一個選民視角出發，向候選人問幾條＂快問快答＂問題（見下）。選擇Manningham 及Melbourne 因為筆者及家人有票，自覺合情合理。不再加入其他city 因為候選人實在太多處理不了。分享給其他香港人因為這兩個區有很多香港人居住，而且問題相信是大家都關心的。
筆者以網誌名義電郵Melbourne City 及Manningham區的50名候選人。問了四個問題：
- 問題是＂快問快答＂類型，Yes or No，同宗教，性別平權等立場問題類似。這些是我們選民關心的。
網絡世界已經失去了應有功能。本項目希望避免用情緒用詞，只講事實Yes or No。上星期看美國總統選舉辯論，鬧劇一場，相方也不斷迴避問題，看完之後更摸不着頭腦。除美國之外，澳洲，歐洲，香港政客也習慣用語言偽術，遊花園蒙混過關。
Yes or No 真的這麼困難嗎？
當爭議題目與候選人的背景有利益衝突時，候選人會在政綱上隻字不提或避重就輕。選民如果掌握了候選人的背景，便可以預算他們在未來衝突中的取態。競選時被Yes or No問題質詢，也會留個記錄，競選後要為言論負責。無論筆者投給誰，也會支持勝出的代議士去履行他們的政綱，及繼續監察他們的表現。
Melbourne City是唯一由居民及rate payers （包括商舖店主，投資房業主等）直選Lord Mayor （市長）。共有9個團隊參選正，副市長職位。本文只嘗試以電郵訪問9位市長候選人。（見下）
Manningham 總共有41名候選人競逐，分別出選9個Ward ，每個Ward 會選出一名councillor（區議員）。之後councillor 之間每隔一至兩年會互相選出一名Mayor（市長）。本文只嘗試以電郵訪問41位區議員候選人。（見下）
Melbourne City Lord Mayor Election
- LARKIN, Kath
- RUSSIAN, Nick
- TSENG, Wayne (responded)
- REED, Philip
- SABARATNAM, Apsara
- WOOD, Arron Richard
- CAPP, Sally
- YANG, Jennifer
- MORGAN, Gary (responded)
Manningham Council Election
- GOUGH, Geoff
- CHARITAKIS, Christina
- BONANNI, Guido
- SHAW, Luke
- RUAN, William
- CONLON, Andrew (responded)
- LAW, Alex (responded)
- CLARK, Peter
- McLEISH, Paul
- LIGHTBODY, Tomas
- KILMARTIN, Darryl (responded)
- FRAWLEY, Ben (responded)
- MAYNE, Stephen (responded)
- OAKLEY, Naomi M. (responded)
- GRIVOKOSTOPOULOS, Jim
- BAIN, Peter Timothy (responded)
- LEUNG, Kai (responded)
- HAYNES, Dot
- GARNER, Jett (responded)
- SUN, Sophia
- MAYNE, Laura
- YEE, Stella
- CONLON, Luke
- ROY, Grace
- DIAMANTE, Deirdre (responded)
- LAI, Raymond (responded)
- SHANMUGAPALAN, Thurairajah (responded)
- CHEN, Anna
- BURNHAM, Cyndy
- KHOURY, Bernadette
- SALEHI, Aryan
- KLEINERT, Michelle
- BEYNON, Bob
- McINTOSH, Michelle (responded)
- HINDS, Alanna
- CRONSHAW, Benjamin (responded)
- ZAFIROPOULOS, Mike (responded)
- LANGE, Carli (responded)
- DYASON, David
- BRENAN, Maxine
- DOWNIE, Meg (responded)
The city council elections are happening at the end of October for many Victorian cities. I wasn’t trained and never had worked in politics. I’m simply carrying out this project as a voter. This project covers Melbourne and Manningham because my family are registered to vote in those. Sharing the outcomes will assist other Hong Kongers to decide, who have a large presence in these two cities.
Are our candidates affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)?
This blog emailed 50 candidates with the quick Yes or No questions below:
- Are you sponsored directly or indirectly by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), or her affiliates? [Yes | No]
- Are you an affiliated member of an entity sponsored by the CCP? [Yes | No]
- Do you condemn the CCP led crack down on freedom of the Hong Kong people? [Yes | No]
- Any messages you have for your voters from Hong Kong?
I am never intending to attack the CCP, if fact I have never and won’t discourage voters just because of someone’s CCP affiliation. Working with CCP can be good for Australia, at least Dan Andrews thinks so.
I’m asking because the voters deserve to know, and want to know the background of our candidates.
Some may argue that their agenda is more important than their background, specially for local councils that impacts our daily lives. The candidates’ backgrounds always influence the voters’ decisions somewhat. In the old days all that requires is a loving husband image, somehow voters care about ethnicity and religious beliefs as well. It evolves to today, where voters are curious about their affiliation and campaign sponsors, but why?
Because voters are sick and tired of their lies and broken promises. Candidates had skilfully worked around controversies in their agenda.
By confronting candidates with simple, direct yes or no questions, voters can predict a candidate’s stand during a future controversy, one that conflicts with their affiliation and sponsor they represent. Their answers will also be kept in records. Other than that, I encourage all candidates to carry on with their promised agenda after they win, best of luck and we will continue to support you regardless of our decisions. We’ll also watch over you!
Collection of Responses from the City of Manningham candidates
- “Stay strong and never give in”
“It is concerning to see the changes to Hong Kong in the last 24 months. The implementation of the National Security Legislation by Beijing has produced an international outcry that has ultimately led nowhere. The United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council have not followed up on the guarantees under the 1984 joint China-United Kingdom declaration on Hong Kong.
For those who condemn the situation, or even those that have no commentary on Hong Kong, the risk to return to Hong Kong, or even travel to China is great. There is no guarantee for individuals that are citizens of other nations not to be detained by Chinese authorities. While the instances I cite are not directly related to the Hong Kong National Security Legislation, these – Yang Hengjun is now on charges that could see him jailed for life, Cheng Lei, who worked for CGTN as a presenter, is under detention for no other reason as far has been identified so far. Two Australian journalists left under a ‘diplomatic standoff’ – as the BBC called it – between Australia and China.
This is what the National Security Legislation in Hong Kong holds in store for those who speak negatively of China. In Australia, we have watched the actions of the local police force arresting local democracy activists and supporters. Education of students to views and positions that may even be construed in a negative light by China results in job termination. A principal of an international school in Hong Kong resigned and left Hong Kong and returned to Australia. An Australian judge tendered his resignation over concerns around the legislation. These are all incidents that increase the fear amongst those who have family and friends in Hong Kong that this change will continue to erode what our memories of Hong Kong is. Ultimately, my commentary may see me unable to visit the country of my birth.”
“I am an independent candidate and am not aligned to any political party. You can find more information on my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/Kai-Leung-for-Ruffey-102361731632067.
It is not appropriate for a local council candidate to comment on international affairs in a local council election, where international foreign policy is under the purview of the Australian Federal Government. Australia also has laws against foreign interference. If you are aware of foreign interference activities in Australia, you can contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs on 1800 123 400 (in Australia) or +61 1300 123 401 (from outside Australia).”
“Ms Lange is not sponsored or affiliated with the CCP, nor does she support any of their policies.”
“Hi Lok, I can easily answer these questions. I am not sponsored in any way by the CCP nor am I a member of an entity sponsored by the CCP. I also condemn the crack down on the freedom of the Hong Kong People. The practices and recently introduced legislation should be condemned as undemocratic.”
- “Former Director of the Immigration Department; Former General Manager of the Special Broadcasting Service in Melbourne; Former Mayor of Fitzroy; Current Deputy Mayor of Manningham. Recipient of the Australian Honours (AM) for my voluntary work with ethnic communities.”
- Yes, stay strong and continue to resist the undemocratic and thuggish CCCP takeover.
“I’m very worried about the CCCP tactics and believe democratic governments should be doing more to resist.”
- My election promise is not taking any politic view or agenda into the Council and that’s always my view. Sorry that I will not comment on this issue in order to keep my promise. 我參加市議會的理念是不把政治議題或任何政治影響帶入市議會。這也是我一貫的想法和宗旨。我選擇入市議會只是想回饋社會； 幫助業主，居民和社區並在市會內為他們發聲。其他有關任何政治的議題不在我作為市議員的範圍之內
- To all Hongkongers who live in Manningham City, especially you guys living in the Waldau Ward. I really need your support and please help to spread the word for me. Since there is only one Councilor in each Ward, even the preference will be very important for a candidate to win in this Council Election. It is much appreciated for your valuable support and looking forward to represent you in the Council and helping you to solve all the municipal issues. To know more about what I stand for in this Council Election, you can check out my Facebook page @RaymondLai4Manningham. 作為已移居墨爾本近三十年的香港人，我懇請你和你的親友們鼎力支持一個值得你哋信任的無政黨獨立後選人。請投你哋手中神聖的一票俾我代表你哋在萬年興市議會內發聲。香港人，獅子山精神 ，一起加油! FB @RaymondLai4Manningham.
- “I believe strongly the right of all people to democracy. I appreciate being able to freely vote and be a candidate in our elections, which inspires me stand with people anywhere who are denied their democratic freedoms. “
- “using force on any peaceful protest should be condemned”
- “vote for me as your local member”
OAKLEY, Naomi M.
- No way
- No way
- “Disgraceful, freedom always”
- “We must all come together as one and support each other through these uncharted waters”
“Normally I don’t answer these questions. But yours I will. No I dont have any CCP sponsorship and I would never accept it either. I have no affiliation with anyone connected to the CCP.
Yes I condemn the crackdown on HongKong, and Tibet as well as China’s military expansion into the sea.
I love Chinese people but not the CCP. I am very cautious towards the Chinese government and their secret agendas.
I wish the people of Hon Kong all the best in their endeavours. Thank you for your lobbying work.”
- “I’m not comfortable having a response to this question in the public domain.”
- “If elected to council I will work towards ensuring that the culture of our community is inclusive and embraces cultural diversity. The candidates running in the Westerfolds Ward are diverse in gender and age but there is not cultural diversity. I will work hard to engage with all members of the community to be their voice in the Manningham City Council.”
- “I support independence, freedom and liberty for the people of Hong Kong”
BAIN, Peter Timothy
- “I regard the Chinese government as one of world’s most evil organisations and strongly support your freedom.”
“I am not sponsored by, nor do I have any connections to the CCP – in any way, shape or form. I am also not an affiliated with any entity that is sponsored by or has ties the CCP.
I believe that real democracy is a human right. All states should work for and be elected by the people whom they represent, not the other way around. The world has watched and is watching in horror as the CCP brutally cracks down on Hong Kong’s protestors who are rightfully demanding an end to the expanding tyranny imposed on them. It is no secret that just like the USSR, the CCP routinely imprisons political dissidents, opponents and others who they deem enemies of the state – it was true in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and it is true today in Xinjiang, Tibet and of course in Hong Kong.
My parents were immigrants who fled a fascist dictatorship in Iran to afford me the privilege of growing up in Australia, where we have complete freedom to speak and think as we see fit. This gives me a moral obligation to take a firm stance and actively denounce fascism wherever I see it. I say not only to voters from Hong Kong, but to all people who share in my view that democracy is non-negotiable, I support you, I stand with you and I will never bow down to the CCP. #FreeHongKong”
“I would appreciate you letting your blog followers know that I do not now, nor have I ever had and connection with the CCP. I am watching with great concern, the activities of the CCP in Hong Kong, and condemn it out right.I also feel it appropriate to point out that I am not a supporter of the Labour Party who seem to be upsettingly willing to partner with the CCP.”
Collection of Responses from the City of Melbourne candidates
“I am not member of the CCP, I am here to advocate Participating Democracy and direct vote. We call this Democracy 2.0”
“It is appropriate that I do so because, you may or may not be aware, that i moved a successful Motion at Council some months as I watched the residents of Hong Kong face increasing danger.
I am a staunch advocate in defence of equitable representative democracy. I see that democracy is being eroded in Hong Kong.
As an elected Councillor I decided that Council should officially express concern , and speak in support of, the Hong Kong students sty-dying here and our residents from Hong Kong who had relatives still in Hong King.
Council passed my Motion. It is attached – and is self-explanatory.
But – I would like you to know that NOT ALL Councillors supported the Motion.
It is significant that:
- The Lord Mayor Sally Capp chose to abstain ie.not vote
- Clr Kevin Louey – left the meeting for a phone call – there therefore. not vote
- Car Philip Li Liu – absent for some reason – and did not vote.
- Are you sponsored directly or indirectly by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), or her affiliates? No
- Are you an affiliated member of an entity sponsored by the CCP? No
- Do you condemn the CCP led crack down on freedom of the Hong Kong people? Yes
- Any messages you have for your voters from Hong Kong? I wish you courage – especially the young people
I hope that you will re-elect me in the forthcoming City of Melbourne election. You can rely on me to speak up about such important matters.
I am standing as No.1 Councillor on the Council Team of the MORGAN-WATTS TEAM”