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  • NSW election 2015: Muslim group turns on Labor leader Luke Foley in Auburn

    2019 - 05.21

    NSW Premier Mike Baird in Auburn on Thursday morning with Liberal candidate Ronney Oueik. Photo: Brendan Esposito Mike Baird visits locals in Auburn on Thursday morning.Photography Brendan Esposito Smh,news,26th March,2015Sent from my iPadDSC_6193.JPG Photo: Brendan Esposito

    Full state election covarageLive blog from 7am

    The influential Lebanese Muslim Association has criticised Opposition Leader Luke Foley and backed his Liberal opponent in the seat of Auburn, after Labor chose not to preselect the group’s controversial preferred candidate.

    It came as Premier Mike Baird took the election fight to Auburn on Thursday, where Liberal hopeful Ronney Oueik is hoping to thwart Mr Foley’s bid for a lower house seat. Labor holds the seat by 7.2 per cent.

    Mr Foley, an upper house MP, lives just outside the electorate boundary in Concord West. He was parachuted into the seat and is fighting to raise his profile over that of the highly visible Mr Oueik, the mayor of Auburn, whose posters are blanketing the electorate.

    In an online video, Lebanese Muslim Association president, Samier Dandan, endorsed Mr Oueik. He indicated Labor should have preselected Hicham Zraika, an Auburn councillor, who “was well groomed to run for that seat”.

    More than 27 per cent of Auburn residents are Muslim, giving the electorate the second-highest Muslim population in NSW, after Lakemba.

    Mr Zraika was suspended from the Labor party for six months in February after a tribunal found he engaged in “unworthy conduct” including falsifying the meeting minutes of his own branch. The decision scuppered the plan by ALP head office to parachute him into the upper house at the election after he withdrew from preselection in Auburn to make way for Mr Foley.

    Mr Dandan said if Mr Zraika “wasn’t fit enough to run for the seat of Auburn” then the incumbent Labor MP, Barbara Perry, “could have had someone else prepared to run for the seat”. “Are we saying that Auburn doesn’t have enough good people to actually represent Auburn?” he said.

    However Mr Dandan backed Labor’s candidate Jihad Dib in the nearby seat of Lakemba. Mr Dib is a celebrated former principal at Punchbowl Boys High School.

    Mr Foley denied he had lost the endorsement of the association despite his opponent winning the endorsement of its president.

    “I think that’s somewhat of an exaggeration,” he said. “I’ve met with many members of the Lebanese Muslim Association who are very supportive of my campaign.”

    However Mr Dandan said he spoke on behalf on his entire association, claiming Mr Foley’s discussions with supportive LMA members took place “in his dreams”.

    As Fairfax Media has previously reported, the Turkish community in Auburn is reportedly concerned about Mr Foley’s membership of the Armenia-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group, and it is understood his endorsement of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel has caused disquitet in the Arab community.

    Mr Baird and Mr Oueik walked the streets of Auburn on Wednesday morning, meeting shopkeepers and locals two days out from the election.

    At a later press conferece, Mr Baird was asked about whether Mr Oueik, a property developer, posed a problem for the party, given that political donations from property developers are banned.

    “[Mr Oueik] is involved in business, he’s involved in property. Ultimately what he is doing is trying to seek election, the honour and privilege to represent the people of Auburn,” Mr Baird said.

    “There is someone running that actually lives in the electorate, loves the electorate and is actually on the ground. Where has the leader of the opposition [been] in his own electorate?”

    Earlier on Thursday morning Mr Baird visited Sydney Markets with Strathfield MP Charles Casuscelli, who is facing a strong challenge from Labor’s planning spokeswoman and former minister Jodi McKay.

    Mr Baird was warmly received by the market’s stallholders, including Anthony Giansante, a flower seller who hurriedly painted the words “Back Baird” on a cardboard box when he saw the Premier approach.

    “Saturday morning, number 1, back Baird,” Mr Giansante said. “I just believe in what he’s trying to promote and Labor is just trying to do the scare tactics.”

    Mr Foley will be at Campbelltown Hospital this morning, before travelling to Goulburn Hospital.

    – with James Robertson

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

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