ALP Powerbrokers Worried by Rise of Muslim Activism

Fears of community independents running on pro-Palestine platforms in key Labor seats have prompted the government’s hardening stance against Israel. Labor powerbrokers fear key western Sydney heartland seats with large Muslim populations are vulnerable to high-profile community independents running on pro-Palestine platforms, a key factor behind the ALP’s hardening stance against Israel. The development comes as sources cited a multi-prong pressure push of Labor leaders waking up to a “moral” but also “political” imperative as key seats threatened to desert the party. Israel’s recent actions, starting with the death of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom, had also given the party the reason and safety net to alter its stance and language. Southwest Sydney seats with large pro-Palestine and Muslim voter bases that most concerned party figures include Jason Clare’s Blaxland, Tony Burke’s Watson and Anne Stanley’s Werriwa, as well as places like Parramatta, in western Sydney, and Wills, in Melbourne.

“The government has responded to recent events, and intense pressure both internally and externally,” said NSW Labor MP Anthony D’Adam, a key figure behind the NSW Labor Friends of Palestine. “The moral case against Israel grows and the government is unable to continue ignoring it. But there is genuine concern that our position on the situation in Gaza threatens our hold on a range of southwest Sydney seats. This combination has forced the shift.” Mr D’Adam said there was a sense electorates “loyal” to Labor were “looking for alternatives”. “Dai Le winning in Fowler, and figures like Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone – are proof of concept,” he said. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 29 of the 151 federal electorates have 5 per cent or more people of Islamic faith. Significantly, 27 of those 29 seats are held by Labor. Of those 29, four are marginal – Labor-held Werriwa and Parramatta; Fowler, which Labor lost to Ms Le at the 2022 election; and the Liberal-held Banks – while 16 are held by Labor on margins of 10 per cent or more.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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