Unity Party (Australia)
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Unity Party (Australia) is a small multiculturist party in Australia, formed in 1997 and with the aim of opposing the rise of the controversial anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson. Although initially billed as a party to unite Australians of all ethnicities against racism, Unity failed to draw significant support outside of Australia's East Asian ethnic communities. After the demise of Pauline Hanson as a political force, Unity has accordingly shifted its focus onto ethnic community affairs at a local government level.
Unity initially attracted much attention when it was founded in 1997, and ran candidates in almost every House of Representatives seat at the 1998 election. While they had hopes of picking up a Senate candidate in New South Wales with lawyer Jason Yat-Sen Li, they ultimately fell well short. However, they did manage to outpoll the Australian Democrats and Australian Greens in some House of Representatives seats.
As the Hanson movement began to disintegrate, it also negated Unity's main platform, and the party soon fell into internal tensions. The party's founder, Dr. Peter Wong, managed to win a seat in the New South Wales Legislative Council with just 1% of the vote, and this came against the backdrop of a series of resignations, including that of Li. Wong soon stepped down as leader in favour of a white Australian in an attempt to broaden the party's base.
Unity's activities largely died down throughout 2000 and Wong acted as a virtual independent in the Legislative Council. However, with the re-emergence of Hanson's One Nation party at the 2001 Western Australian state election, the party again came together and put together a large slate of candidates for the federal election that same year. Despite having several prominent candidates (such as former Melbourne City Council member Wellington Lee in Victoria), they fell even further short of electing any members to either house of federal parliament.
After their failure to break into federal parliament in 2001, Unity largely shifted its attentions to local government, running a number of councillors in largely non-white areas, primarily in suburban Sydney. It did not run any candidates in the 2004 federal election.
Wong continued to represent Unity in the NSW Parliament, until the expiry of his term in March 2007. At the March 2007 NSW state election, lead Unity Upper House candidate, Le Lam, managed to gain only 1.2% of the vote, which was insufficient to gain election. Consequently, Unity no longer holds seats in any Australian parliament.
Prominent past and present members
- Randa Abdel-Fattah, writer
- Cr. Jack Au, Deputy Mayor of Auburn
- Cr. Sylvia Chao, Willoughby City Councilor
- Silma Ihram, Muslim educationist
- Sarah Kemp, actress
- Cr. Le Lam, former Mayor of Auburn
- Wellington Lee, former Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne
- Cr. Joshua Nam, Canterbury City Councilor
- Cr. Thang Ngo, former Fairfield City Councillor
- Cr. Annie Tang, Deputy Mayor of Kogarah
- Cr. Alfred Tsang, former Mayor of Strathfield
- Cr. Ernest Wong, former Mayor of Burwood; appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council in 2013, representing Labor
- Dr Peter Wong, member of the New South Wales Legislative Council (1999-2007) representing the Unity Party
Unity also has a youth division, called Young Unity.
- "Ernest Wong elected to replace Roozendaal in NSW Parliament". ABC News (Australia). 24 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "Dr Peter WONG". Parliament of NSW. Retrieved 28 November 2012.