Open Letter to Minister Alan Tudge re: Senator Eric Abetz

Hon. Alan Tudge MP

Acting Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

12 November 2020

Dear Minister Tudge,

This letter is to request your Government take immediate steps towards addressing Senator Eric Abetz’s conduct during the Senate Hearing held on Wednesday, 14 October 2020 on Issues Facing Diaspora Communities, where he explicitly asked the only three Chinese Australian witnesses  – Osmond Chiu (Research Fellow, Per Capita Think Tank), Yun Jiang (Editor, The China Story) and Wesa Chau (Deputy Lord Mayor Candidate, City of Melbourne) to “unequivocally condemn” the Chinese Communist Party. No other witnesses were questioned in this manner.

The three witnesses made separate submissions to the inquiry on different topics.To single out and question, three Chinese Australian witnesses on the basis of their Chinese heritage is essentially “loyalty testing” their allegiances. 

When confronted to apologise via a series of opinion pieces, news reports and social media advocacy, the Senator has repeatedly refused to admit his wrongs and apologise. Instead, he continues to claim that what he did during the hearing “is not racism”.

As the acting Minister for the Multicultural Affairs portfolio, you would understand how damaging Senator Abetz’s behaviour is to Australia’s social cohesion and encourages suspicion towards the wider Chinese Australian community which makes up almost 6% of the entire Australian population. 

It is in Australia’s broader national interest and to the benefit of our global standing to show that our elected leaders do not believe Senator Abetz’s behaviour is acceptable. The strength and resilience of our multicultural liberal democracy will be shown by the Government’s actions. Silence sends a strong message of tolerance for his behaviour.

We would like to ask you in your capacity as the acting Minister for the Multicultural affairs portfolio to:

  1. Request Senator Eric Abetz apologise to the three witnesses at the hearing (Osmond Chiu, Yun Jiang and Wesa Chau) for questioning their loyalties and allegiances on the basis of their cultural backgrounds;
  1. Issue a statement with Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressing this situation clearly and directly, reassuring the Chinese Australian community that this line of “loyalty testing” was unacceptable behaviour and will not happen again in any capacity.


Tanya Plibersek MP, Federal Member for Sydney, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Andrew Giles MP, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Stephen Jones MP, Federal member for Whitlam, Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Financial Services, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Pat Conroy MP, Federal Member for Shortland, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Shadow Minister Assisting for Climate Change, Shadow Minister Assisting for Defence, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Tim Watts MP, Federal Member for Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Ged Kearney MP, Federal Member for Cooper, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Graham Perrett MP, Federal Member for Moreton, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Dr Anne Aly MP, Federal Member for Cowan, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Josh Burns MP, Federal Member for McNamara, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Kate Thwaites MP, Federal Member for Jagajaga, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Milton Dick MP, Federal Member for Oxley, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Anne Stanley MP, Federal Member for Werriwa, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Julian Hill MP, Federal Member for Bruce, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Senator Tim Ayres, Senator for NSW, Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Adam Bandt MP, Australian Greens Parliamentary Leader and Federal Member for Melbourne, Australian Greens

Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Anti-racism spokesperson and Senator from NSW, Australian Greens

Senator Janet Rice, Foreign Affairs and Multiculturalism spokesperson and Senator from VIC, Australian Greens

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for WA, Australian Greens

Senator Jordan Steele-John, Australian Greens Senator for WA, Australian Greens

Mick Gentleman MLA, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Member for Brindabella, ACT Labor

Michael Pettersson MLA, Member for Yerrabi, ACT Labor

The Hon Pierre Yang MLC, Western Australian Legislative Council, WA Labor

The Hon Daniel Mookhey MLC, Shadow Finance and Small Business Minister, and Shadow Minister for the Gig Economy, NSW Labor

The Hon John Graham MLC, Shadow Minister for Roads, Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy, NSW Labor

The Hon Peter Primrose MLC, Member of Legislative Council, NSW Labor

The Hon Rose Jackson MLC, NSW Legislative Council, NSW Labor

Jo Haylen MP, State Member for Summer Hill, NSW Labor

Jenny Leong MP, NSW State Member for Newtown, NSW Greens

Jamie Parker MP, NSW State Member for Balmain, NSW Greens

Tamara Smith MP, NSW State Member for Ballina, NSW Greens

Abigail Boyd MLC, NSW Member of Legislative Council, NSW Greens

David Shoebridge MLC, NSW Member of Legislative Council, NSW Greens

Cate Faehrman MLC, NSW Member of Legislative Council, NSW Greens

Clr Jerome Laxale, Mayor, City of Ryde, NSW

Clr Darcy Byrne, Mayor, Inner West Council, NSW

Clr Linda Scott, Local Councillor, City of Sydney, NSW

Clr Penny Pedersen, Local Councillor, City of Ryde Council NSW

Clr Kun Huang, Local Councillor, Cumberland City Council, NSW

Clr Warren Tegg, Local Councillor,  Georges River Council, NSW

Clr Kathryn Landsberry, Local Councillor, Georges River Council, NSW

Clr Charishma Kaliyanda, Local Councillor, Liverpool City Council NSW

Clr Nathan Hagarty, Local Councillor, Liverpool City Council, NSW

Michele O’Neil, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions

Melissa Donnelly, National Secretary, Community and Public Sector Union (PSU Group)

Andrew Dettmer, National President, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU)

Tim Kennedy, National Secretary, United Workers Union

Sylvia Hale, Co-Convenor, The Greens NSW

Erin Wen Ai Chew, Founder and National Convener, Asian Australian Alliance (AAA)

Molina Asthana, Victorian Head Convener, Asian Australian Alliance (AAA)

Thomson Ch’ng, NSW Convener, Asian Australian Alliance (AAA)

Adri Lozano, NSW Convener, Asian Australian Alliance (AAA)

Stephanie Jack, Tasmanian Convener, Asian Australian Alliance (AAA)

Emma Dawson, Executive Director, Per Capita

Dr John Falzon, Senior Fellow, Per Capita

Tim Lyons, Former Ass. Sec. ACTU and Research Fellow Per Capita

Shirley Jackson, Economist, Per Capita

Eddie Micallef, Chair, Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria

Dr Trina Supit, member of the Indonesian community and former Teachers Federation member, Ethnic Communities Council

Anita Tang, Community Organising Director, Centre for Australian Progress; Chair, Democracy in Colour

Luke Hilakari, Secretary, Victorian Trades Hall Council

Kirsty Albion, Executive Director, Australian Progress

Phong Trinh, on behalf of Australian Progress

Tim Lo Surdo, Founder & National Director, Democracy in Colour

Neha Madhok, on behalf of Democracy in Colour

Jessica Kendall, Co-Director, Economic Media Centre

Lena Nahlous, Executive Director, Diversity Arts Australia

Priscilla Brice, Managing Director, All Together Now

Jason Yat-sen Li, President, Chinese Australian Forum

Thuy Linh Nguyen, Organiser, Sydney Alliance

Mary Waterford AM, Member, Sydney Alliance

Dr Anthony Pun, OAM, Multicultural Communities Council of NSW and Foundation President, Chinese Community Council of Australia & Coordinator, Chinese Australian Leaders Group.

Dr. Yeow-Tong Chia, President, Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia

Dr. Russell Jeung, Founder, Stop AAPI Hate, USA

Alison Pennington, Senior Economist, Centre for Future Work

Luke Whitington, on behalf of the SEARCH Foundation

Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia

Sam La Rocca, Co-Executive Director, The Sunrise Project

Kristy Walters, on behalf of Community Power Agency

Edie Shepherd, co-founder and board member of the Progressive Tech Network

Christine McKenzie, President, PEN Melbourne

Mark Isaacs, President, PEN Sydney

Matt Kunkel, Director, Migrant Workers Centre

Kelly Albion, Campaign Director, Australia 

Claire Pisani, Founder, Culture Confidence

Adam Ni, Editor, China Story

Marcus Reubenstein, Editor, APAC News

Rosanna Barbero, CEO, Addi Road

Kelly Albion, on behalf of Australia 

David McKnight, Honorary Associate Professor, University of NSW

Frank Stilwell, Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney

Dr Josephine Scicluna, Casual Academic, Deakin University

Chuck Chan, Secondary School Teacher, Nazareth College, VIC, Australia

Eva Cox AO, Individual

John Menadue AO, Individual

Helen Hewett AM, Individual

Osman Faruqi, Individual

Daphne Lowe-Kelley, Individual

David Peetz, individual

Mike Yan, Individual

Teik-Kim Pok, Individual

Erin Quill, Individual

Tyrone Liu, Individual

Dr Ben Harris-Roxas, Individual

Kumiko Kawashima, Individual

David Yu, Individual

Tom Walsh, Individual

Joeline Baker-Lang, Individual

Karen Shamberger, Individual

Tock-Chin Cynthia Loh, Individual

Michael Been Choon Loh, Individual

Daniel Lim, Individual

Limei He, Individual

Susan Elfert, Individual

Finian Augustin, Individual

Ciann Chow, Individual

Catherine Crittenden, Individual

Jane Liang, Individual

Jez Hunghanfoo, Individual

Anna Song, Individual

Siaw-Teng Liaw, Individual

Emily Sims, Individual

Brian Aarons, Individual

Jacqueline Widin, Individual

Peter Murphy, Individual

Matt Byrne, Individual

Tim Dunlop, Individual

Dr Justine Lloyd, Individual

Jessie Lu, Individual

Gerald Roche, Individual

Siau Fong Leow, Individual

Sissi Chen, Individual

Guylord Dela Fuente, Individual

You can also download a copy of the letter here

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