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Australian Jews Join Political Fray to Stop New, Rightist Party

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Jewish groups in Australia are making an unprecedented entry into party politics.

Led by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, these groups are publicly urging voters and mainstream political organizations to stop a new anti- immigration political party, One Nation, from winning seats in a state legislature in next month’s scheduled elections.

One Nation is participating in its first election in Queensland, where it is believed to have its strongest power base and where its founder, member of Parliament Pauline Hanson, is based.

The party opposes multiculturalism and all programs of assistance to indigenous Australians, and portrays itself as the defender of “Christian Australia.”

The president of the ECAJ, Diane Shteinman, said the party is similar to European far-right-wing parties such as the National Front in France.

In Australia, voters are generally asked to rank the parties in order of preference. While several mainstream political parties, such as the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Democrats and the Greens, have all declared that their supporters should rank One Nation last, others have indicated that their supporters should place One Nation above the Labor Party, which many observers believe will allow One Nation to gain up to four seats.

In Australia, voting is compulsory in all federal, state and local elections.

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