By LUCY WEI
Chris Minns MP graduated from Princeton University on a full scholarship. He was theShadow Minister for Water in the NSWLabor Party. He was a new star of the NSWLabor Party,for a new generation of Australian politics. He is now the Shadow Minister for Transport and Corrections of NSW.
On May 18th, the Sydney Post, a Chinese-Australian media organisation, interviewed Mr Chris Minns. The following is the content of the interview:
The reporter: On 10th of May, the Labor Party leader, Anthony Albanese, opened his WeChat official account. We know that you also have an official WeChat account, which suggests that the Labor party cares about and acknowledges the vast Chinese-Australian community. Have you communicated with Albanese about his account? Could you share some of your experiences about running your WeChat?
Chris Minns MP: I haven’t communicated with him; I wish I had. If you ask me about my experience with WeChat, it has been great.It means we can speak to large numbers of the Chinese-Australian community, particularly about issues that affect them. Also, it is a two-way communication, so they can come back and tell me what’s wrong, which means I can do my job as a local member ofparliament even better. So, I’ll use WeChat for more discussions, and I love the fact that we are all active on it, we can speak to the Chinese-Australian community, and I’ll continue to do so. If anyone from government asks me about it, I will recommend them to do the same.
The reporter: NSW has the most tolled roads in the world. Many people take local roads to avoid toll roads, resulting in congestion on local roads. As the Shadow Minister for Transport, what do you think of that issue?
Chris Minns MP: Toll roads are everywhere in Sydney, drivers can’t afford to travel on them and the stupid thing is that the government spent billions of dollars building tunnels in place and traffic jams are still increasing, you might think if they had spent billions of dollars on toll roads that surface traffic would decrease, yet the exact opposite has happened.
It seems to me that they are not building these toll roads to help commuters and drivers, nor to reduce congestion, but to make money. The thing that I would do as the Shadow Minister of Transport is oppose the privatization of these roads.They need to be held by the government,otherwise if have toll roads monopolized by private companies, drivers will be at the back of the queue.
The reporter: Do you think that the huge budget allocation from the federal government to the NSW Government is an internal benefit transfer within the Coalition?
Chris Minns MP: I am not sure. I think the State Government would want even more money from the Federal Government,I haveno reason to believe that. When COVID-19 is over, NSW will grow again, it will particularly grow in Western Sydney, we need public transport for a growing city, it can’t just be toll roads, it is too unfair for people who live in Western Sydney particularly. You can’t have new public roads for Eastern Sydney and toll roads for theWest.
The reporter: In 2016 and 2017, you criticised Pauline Hansen and the One Nation Party for supporting racial discrimination, because in that year Hansen mentioned the Hurstville area being “swamped” by Asians. As a state MP for this electorate, what do you think of the relationship between Asian immigrants and Australia?
Chris Minns MP: I think she was absolutely wrong; she has mischaracterized the relationship between the Asian community and area. The Asian community is part of Australia, and we are a multicultural country, Asian-Australians are an important part of our community. I have lived in St George in my entire life for 41 years. In my opinion, I witnessed the Asian community first coming from Hong Kong and then transitioning to the South Asian community and the Mainland Chinese community, they have done nothing but extremely hard work, raise their families, pay enormous amounts of tax to NSW Government,bring enormous success to our local schools, local areas. I think they have been wonderful for Australia and our areas; anyone challenges that I am always going to fight them.
The reporter: If there have been many cases of racial discrimination, why hasn’t there been any charges taken in New South Wales to serve as a warning to racists?
Chris MinnsMP: Well, first of all I think it is very important for politicians and community leaders to stand up against racial discrimination. Racial discrimination particularly in this context of the Asian community would be ruinous Australia,it would destroy our reputation internationally, and in the long term the risk of missing out on thousands of young, smart capable Asian-Australians from moving to our country and starting businesses and going to university, so we need to stamp this out.
In relation to whyhasn’t anyone been charged that is a very fair question, we needto fight against racial vilification.Especially if something like this happens in the community, of course these people should be subject to the law.I’m afraid it may not be reported, but if they want anyone to report it in a safe way, they can come to me, as a local member of parliament that is my job.
The reporter: Is there racial discrimination in the Liberal Party? What do you think of this situation? How does Labor impact on the government’s enforcement of the law?
Chris Minns MP: The Liberal Party is our political opponent, but I am not prepared to say this is racial discrimination,now I don’t know. I am a member of the LaborParty, from the point of view of Labor, I can tell you that we have multicultural branches, we have hundreds of Chinese-Australians and Asians members who are presidents, secretaries of our branches. The LaborParty is a very inclusive political party. And I want to say, anyone reading this article or interested in politics, if you live in the St George area, we have a home for you, the NSW Labor Party.
(The picture shows the Sydney Post reporter interviewing Senator Chris Minns)
(Pictured is SenatorChris Minns)