Liberals select Filipinos in western Sydney

Jaymes Diaz and Venus Priest, Liberal candidates in Western Sydney
Jaymes Diaz and Venus Priest, Liberal candidates in Western Sydney
The Federal opposition has recently selected two Filipinos as its standard bearers two electoral seats with known large number of Filipino residents.

Venus Priest and Jaymes Diaz, both of Filipino origin, will be the party’s candidates for Chifley and Greenway, respectively.

Priest was endorsed as Liberal’s candidate when previously selected candidate, David Barker, was dumped by the Federal opposition leadership for attacking Ed Husic, Labor candidate, for his Muslim faith.

Priest will be running against Ed Husic (Labor), Debbie Robertson (Greens), David Barker (now running as Independent), and Dave Vincent (Christian Democratic Party).

Diaz was a last-minute pre-selection candidate for Greenway when the sitting member Louise Markus decided to run for the neighbouring seat of Macquarie.

Diaz will be running against Labor Party candidate, Michelle Rowland, a senior lawyer in a Sydney-based law firm, and Paul Taylor (Greens).

According to the Liberal Party’s website, Priest operates a grocery store in Hassall Grove and has volunteered for a number of community groups, including working to help people with disabilities. Diaz is a legal practitioner who is also involved in the assisting youth in the community, particularly those from a Filipino background.


Chifley is a safe Labor seat in outer Western Sydney. Chifley has been held by the Labor Party since its proclamation in 1968-69. Mr Roger Price (ALP) who has served the electorate from 1984-2010 is to date the longest serving MP of Chifley.

The Chifley covers the suburbs of Arndell Park, Bidwill, Blackett, Colebee, Dean Park, Dharruk, Doonside, Emerton, Glendenning, Hassell Grove, Hebersham, Huntingwood, Lethbridge Park, Marayong, Minchinbury, Mt Druitt, Oakhurst, Plumpton, Rooty Hill, Ropes Crossing, Shalvey, Shanes Park, Tregear, Whalan, Wilmost, Woodcroft, and parts of Eastern Creek, Blacktown, Quakers Hill, Schofields, and Riverstone.


Greenway was first created in 1984, and was held relatively comfortably by the ALP throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The seat was first won by Russell Gorman in 1984. Gorman had previously held Chifley from 1983 until he moved to Greenway in 1984. He was succeeded by Frank Mossfield in 1996.

Mossfield retired at the 2004 election, and the ALP stood Ed Husic, while the Liberals stood Louise Markus where the latter won the seat.

Greenway covers the eastern parts of the City of Blacktown and some parts of Parramatta and Holroyd council areas. Suburbs include Lalor Park, Seven Hills, Blacktown, Toongabbie, Girraween, Pendle Hill, The Ponds and Riverstone.

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16 Responses to "Liberals select Filipinos in western Sydney"

  1. Kevin Johnson   July 29, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    There are some basic factual errors in this article. The suburbs are completely wrong. As are many other statements, if you can not even get the suburbs right ? how can we trust anything on this ?

    • TFA News   July 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

      Please share with us your information and sources which would render the information in this article wrong.

  2. Lee- Lutgarda Espiritu -Pendleton   July 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I guess it’s about time Australia has to be represented coming from diverse backgrounds regardless of their ethnicity. Australia has been a multicultural society for more than 20 years and I reckon Filipino Australians are now in their second generation so it’s very timely that we must be represented in Australian Federal government.

  3. Glenda Balison   July 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Yes, we need this. I hope the filipinos unite together for once to show the rest of australia that we are here and have a voice.

  4. Jay   August 6, 2010 at 1:02 am

    They represent a party that I, as a Filipino-Australian, cannot support. Surely you cannot base your vote for the Liberal Party on ethnic lines alone, especially with their disgraceful track record on multiculturalism.

    Diaz and Priest have associated themselves with a party that lacks compassion and racial and religious tolerance when it comes to matters of immigration, fail to understand economic fundamentals (especially with Australia’s resilience through the Global Financial Crisis), and is lead by Tony Abbott, a person with such backward and discriminatory views on how a dynamic society such as our own is to be run.

    There’ll eventually be a day when we’ll see a Filipino-Australian in Federal Parliament – just not Diaz and Priest.

    • Miguel Sumera   August 9, 2010 at 11:46 am

      If ever you forget what the Coalition means when they say tough on immigration, remember Australian-Filipino Vivian Alvarez Solon.

      The regrettable case of Vivian Alvarez Solon
      May 14, 2005

      The cases of Vivian Alvarez Solon and Cornelia Rau are unhappy addendums to the stories of those souls trapped in mandatory detention.

      What happened to Vivian Alvarez Solon before she appeared at Lismore Base Hospital in 2001 is unclear. She was treated for serious injuries that afflict her still: she can walk with a crutch but often uses a wheelchair and the use of her fingers and one arm is limited. Sadly, her trauma also appears to have affected her memory: she says she wants to see her family but cannot remember who they are. This combination of physical weakness and mental confusion possibly explains how it is that Ms Alvarez Solon, a 42-year-old Australian citizen, accepted her fate: to live for four years among the dying at the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity hospice in the Philippines city of Olongapo.

      How she came to be deported from Australia and separated from her children, one of whom has been in foster care for four years as a result, is a matter the Australian Government has yet to explain. Her story, as it has been reported so far, raises a number of questions. How is it that she was deemed to be an illegal immigrant three days after being listed as a missing person by Queensland police? What mechanism determined that this injured woman, with no known family or resources, should be handed over to Catholic nuns and how is it that, once she had been accepted into their care, the Australian Government was not able to find her? As long ago as August 2003, Queensland police realised Ms Alvarez Solon had been deported but authorities say they were not able to locate her in the Philippines.

      Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has pithily summed up Ms Alvarez Solon’s history: “There’s a woman who was clearly in need of help and who through, I think it’s fair to say, no fault of her own ended up in an immigration detention facility and clearly didn’t have the capacity to explain to people who she was. And that is a tragic situation.”

      It is important that the questions regarding Ms Alvarez Solon’s deportation be answered, but the case also raises larger concerns. Like Cornelia Rau, the mentally ill Australian resident who was wrongly detained in the Baxter detention centre, when Ms Alvarez Solon came to the attention of the Immigration Department she was incapable of explaining herself and defending her rights. This inability has had tragic consequences, not only for her but for her children. The failure of authorities to provide proper care and protection for a woman who desperately needed their help is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of her story. When the Cornelia Rau case came to light, Prime Minister John Howard said he could not guarantee other Australians had not been wrongly detained by immigration authorities. Now that it has become apparent that Ms Rau was not an isolated case, the need for an open, public inquiry is even more pressing. Former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer, who has been investigating the circumstances leading to Ms Rau’s detention, has been asked to widen his inquiry after the Alvarez Solon revelations. But Mr Palmer’s explorations will remain private, which they should not be. Mr Palmer does not have the power to subpoena witnesses and the people who do speak to him do not have legal protection. This necessarily limits Mr Palmer’s effectiveness. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said this week that a number of state public servants were reluctant to appear before Mr Palmer, fearing the legal consequences.

      The inquiry as it stands appears expedient and so runs the risk of being dismissed as an empty political exercise. On the evidence so far, it seems that the Immigration Department has been unwilling to recognise the needs of the mentally ill, a failure from which tragic mistakes have flowed. A thorough and independent inquiry may go some way to explaining how and why this has come to be the case, and so be a catalyst for change.

      The cases of Vivian Alvarez Solon and Cornelia Rau are unhappy addendums to the stories of those souls who are trapped in mandatory detention. As The Age has argued before, mandatory detention is a flawed policy that should be abandoned. Detainees are deprived of basic human rights and held in conditions that threaten their mental health. The Rau and Alvarez Solon cases suggest there may be an unhealthy link between mandatory detention and the department’s failure to treat two confused and vulnerable women with simple kindness.

      • Daniel F   August 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm

        Miguel Sumera,

        There are hundreds of thousands of us living here in Australia and you have ONE CASE to point out?!

        Send us a link to some articles demonstrating the Labor partys support for the filipinos or perhaps immigration in general over the last 3 years..or i’ll take any in fact.

        Send us link to how they have progressed and made immigration better for us all here…Please do. and perhaps i will change my mind.

        • Paul   August 19, 2010 at 11:25 pm

          I would just like to say, as a born Filipino boy of 15 years of age living in the electorate of Chifley. That I credit people amongst the Labor party for saving my life in helping me and my mother gain citizenship in this country.

          I am proud to see people of my heritage run in this election, but at the end of the day, it is what they do for the people they support if they get into office.

    • Daniel F   August 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

      Wow Jay you are awfully bitter and do not want to see filipino australians prosper in this country.

      Perhaps when another MAJOR PARTY gives filipino’s such a chance you will give them the GIFT of NOT SUPPORTING them too.

      You are useless and exactly what the rest of the world means when they look at filipinos and laugh at our ‘crab mentality’.

      Have fun living as a useless sack the rest of your life. YOUR NEGATIVE WORDS ARE AS USELESS AS YOU.

      TELL US JAY, what party do you support? and what are they doing to get a filipino australian in parliament?

  5. Miguel Sumera   August 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

    The Labor Government in South Australia with the help of the Labor Government of Australia…

    ADELAIDENOW SCOOP: AN IMMIGRATION agreement with the Philippines will deliver up to 50,000 skilled workers to South Australia over the next decade.

    Deputy Premier Kevin Foley, who is on a nine-day trade mission to Malaysia and the Philippines, told The Advertiser yesterday a memorandum of understanding between the two governments would help streamline the immigration process.

    A special program will be introduced by the Philippines, under its Labour and Employment Secretary Arturo Brion, for SA companies to employ “highly trained” Filipino workers.

    About nine million Filipinos work overseas, sending back “remittances” of about $15 billion a year that is vital to the economy of the Philippines.

    Despite criticism of the personal and social cost of having 10 per cent of the population registered as Overseas Filipino Workers, the Philippines Government accepts the practice as a reality of life and has a policy of regulation.

    Mr Foley said the SA agreement was modelled on a similar one signed in February between the Philippines and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

    Under the agreement, yet to be formally signed, registered employers are connected with licensed immigration agencies in the Philippines that will pre-screen and prepare skilled workers to move to SA.

    ‘”We will work with industry and business to identify the skill gaps and the needs,” Mr Foley said. “We would be the first Australian Government to enter into a formal relationship with the Philippines Government to bring in skilled Filipino labour.

    “There is no reason why as early as next year we should not be seeing a flow of workers into South Australia, provided businesses themselves join us in wanting to make this work.

    “The Government can only do so much.”

    Mr Foley predicted about 50,000 skilled Filipino workers would come to SA in the next five to 10 years, with most expected to become permanent residents. “That is what has happened in Manitoba, Canada, and they have a similar population to us,” he said.

    “The mining boom and the defence projects alone will require us to find at least an extra 300,000 workers in the next 10 years. There are simply not enough workers in Australia.

    “Filipino workers are attractive because they speak excellent English, and they are very dedicated, disciplined and productive workers, and highly skilled.”

    Filipino workers are expected to come to SA for employment in manufacturing, steel fabrication, mining, nursing, hospitality, electronics and advanced manufacturing sectors.

    One SA company, which had representatives travelling with Mr Foley, employs about 400 welders, steel fabricators and boilermakers. Half of its workforce already has been sourced from the Philippines.

    Mr Foley said a number of SA companies had already “beaten a path to the Philippines to look for workers”.

    The visa process and required Federal Government policies were in place, he said.

    Most Filipino workers were expected to travel to SA on a 457 visa. That will allow them to stay for between six months and four years for work.

    Mr Foley said the biggest hurdle was ensuring the skills obtained in the Philippines by workers were recognised in Australia.

    “That will require some form of presence in the Philippines and we may need to sponsor a training institution in the Philippines to ensure workers coming to Australia are properly accredited,” he said.

    “That is the biggest challenge but I think we can jump that hurdle relatively easily.”

    The State Government already is helping to set up one private training centre in the Philippines to ensure local tradesmen and workers can meet Australian standards and be accredited to work in SA.

    “We can do better than an ad hoc approach where SA companies come up here on their own, and the Philippines Government also would like to have a co-ordinated approach,” Mr Foley said.

    “This won’t solve our skills crisis, but this initiative alone has the potential to help address a looming skills shortage in SA.”

    Earlier this week in Malaysia, Mr Foley said he had a “very productive” meeting with the chief executive of Malaysia Airlines to seek more direct flights to Adelaide.

    “We are confident they will increase the number of flights into Adelaide,” he said.

    The State Government trade delegation returns to Adelaide on Monday.

  6. Filoz   August 18, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    geez, as a Filipino-Australian myself living in the ALP heartland in the western suburbs I have not yet seen a decent hardworking aussie filipino make an ignorant comment as this Labor stooge Jay boy.

  7. L   August 19, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I find it interesting that there are accusations being levelled at Jay for being a “stooge” and “useless”. Let’s deconstruct this shall we:

    We Filipinos are not indigenous to this country, and in fact many of us migrated out of a sense that Australia would provide freedoms and opportunities that were unavailable to us back in The Philippines.

    One of these freedoms is a strong democracy. Do explain how voting up a candidate purely on ethnic lines, without actually strong analysis on policy assists in ensuring:

    1. strong representation for citizens, including the Filipino community in Western Sydney, and
    2. a strong democracy within Australia?

    I note that there’s no discussion on what these two candidates platforms are for the electorate and the local Western Sydney community. In fact, the Liberal party brought in WorkChoices during the last election, which negatively affected those working in predominantly low skill, low paid jobs (which many Filipinos find themselves working in when first arriving) by cutting pay and conditions. Furthernore, the Liberal party is advocating for less migration in this election – that would seriously affect migrant communities including Filipinos.

    Blindly voting for Filipino candidate just because they MIGHT have a chance to get into parliament, without look at what they intend to do with this position, or whether they will even have policies to empower the community? That, my friend, is being a “stooge” and rather ignorant.

    Also, I question Diaz’s commitment in representing Greenway, let alone the Filipino community. In particular due to his most recent performance in a Town Hall debate when he appeared more than an hour late, and had to default to his father when asked what preferences deals had made with other political parties. That doesn’t scream commitment to me.

    Also, before anyone levels accusations of hating my own ethnicity, I would just say that running for candidacy on ethnic lines without giving anything back to the community is much more of a betrayal.

    Interestingly, it appears that people assume that Jay is male by default, which is rather ignorant quite frankly. / L

    • TFA News   August 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      Whilst we realise that the name and email address given by above commenter (“L”) do not appear valid, still we publish the commenter’s posting on account of the issues raised.

  8. Justin P   August 19, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Congratulations to Jaymes and Venus on being preselected as Liberal candidates.

    This aside, I on the other hand stand with Jay and Jay’s rather informed, enlightened comment. If anything, the tactic of selecting Filipino candidates is a strategy that plays on perceived ‘crab’ mentalities (to use another poster’s words), a belief that certain people, particularly those of non-anglo ethnicities, will base their vote primarily on like-ethnicity.

    While I respect those who support Jaymes and Venus, and indeed wish to celebrate their candidacy in so far as it may represent the diversification of Australian political representation, I personally would not vote for them for reasons of policy and political ideology. Rather than the ethnicity of a candidate alone, there are a plethora of other factors that should determine one’s vote, and there are other ‘non-Filipino’ parties, candidates and policies that actually serve so-called ‘Filipino Australian’ interests (whatever they may be or however distinct they may be from other ‘Australian’ interests).

  9. Filoz   August 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    @L You make so many assumptions like Jay boy, we all what it means when you assume right? I don’t care what ethnicity a candidate is, but it is very ignorant to try some spin some misinformation that the ideology of Mrs Priest & Mr Diaz’s are against our community’s interests, I think the Liberals have something to offer to our community, but you stooges make it seem like they are candidates for One Nation.

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