Western Australian Senate Ungrouped Independent ~ Kim Mubarak

And so we come to our final candidate on the Western Australian ballot paper, and just in time, because from tonight, I’m going to be consumed with rehearsals until the big performance this weekend!  Actually, by the time you read this, it may well be nearly the weekend, because this post is going to be written in tiny bits as time permits – I apologise in advance for any lack of coherency that may result.

The first thing you should know about Kim Mubarak is that our friends from the Australian Protectionist Party want you to put him dead last on the ballot.  Since they want you to put either Teresa Lieshout or Rise Up Australia first on the ballot, I personally view this is a pretty big point in Mr Mubarak’s favour.

Of course, you can guess why they want you to put him last, can’t you?  They don’t say why, of course, but after listening to Ms Lieshout’s screed about asylum seekers, I’m pretty sure I can guess.  You see, our friend Mubarak is a Muslim man and a former refugee.  He is also black, which probably doesn’t help either.

You know, I had to pause there, because it makes me so incredibly sad to write this. I can understand fearing individuals – but fearing a whole class of people just on the basis of their shared religion or skin colour appalls me.  No group of humans is a monolith.  Just about any group you might care to mention – Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Pagans, soccer players, scientists, engineers, teachers, people who love science fiction, people who read romance novels, people who like magical realism – contains wonderful people and horrible people and ordinary people and interesting people and boring people.  I, personally, would hate it if someone looked at me and assumed, on the basis of my skin colour, religion and sex, that I must share the prejudices and beliefs of, well, Ms Lieshout, for example.  (I’m beginning to feel bad about picking on her, but I think it is fair to say in this context that our beliefs could not be further apart, despite our surface similarities)  It makes me absolutely miserable when someone uses my religion as an excuse to be cruel to others.  And I can’t imagine what it would be like to live my life with people making those assumptions about me every day.

Anyway. Apologies for going off on a tangent of obviousness.  Let’s have a look at what Mr Mubarak has to say about himself.

I KIM MUBARAK a man of unity, reconciliation, justice, democracy and common sense. I take this opportunity as a concerned citizen with a strong determination to confirm that, I will continue my agenda of fighting for the Senate Western Australia come the federal elections as an Independent Candidate. It is my pleasure to continue advocating for a reform agenda which encourages and respects the rights of other communities in their respective cultures, engaging and bringing them on board to achieve the true objectives as an Australian.

OK, it’s well known that I am a horrible, horrible pedant, so I will confess that for all that I am very much disposed to like Mr Mubarak, I really wish he had a proof-reader for this website.  His English and communication skills are clearly excellent for someone with English as a second language, but his website does read a little bit like those Nigerian Spam emails.  I wonder if his first language is from a similar linguistic group?  (Lest you think this sounds racist, I spend a lot of time proof-reading grant applications at work for people who have English as a second language, and it is noticeable that people  who, for example, have German as a first language make very similar sorts of mistakes to each other, and entirely different mistakes to those made by people who have French as a first language.  This seems to be a result on the grammatical structure of their first language and the ways it differs from English.)

Moving past my appalling pedantry, let’s look at the content.

Mr Mubarak tells us that “Every human being must be proud of being in this great nation of ours regardless of our colour, religion, political and cultural differences”, and stands against discrimination and bullying, calling for Australians to unite against this and presenting the novel (but true) argument that this will save not just lives but taxpayer money currently spent on treating those affected by such abuse.

He is a founder of three major projects:

  • INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT WITHOUT BOARDERS.
  • INTERNATIONAL SPECIAL WORLD WAR 11 VETERANS UNIT FOR AFRICA.
  • KIDIMA INTERNATIONAL MATOOKE IMPORT AND EXPORTS PTY,LTD.

One of these things is not like the other thing, one of these things is not the same…

Matooke is a form of cooking banana.  According to Mr Mubarak, it is extremely healthy (I am a little dubious of its alleged cancer-curing properties), and he feels that importing fresh Matooke will help farmers in poor countries to survive, and will also promote healthy eating in Australians.  And then he can open healthy restaurants across Australia and create jobs!  I’m all for this, but it seems like a slightly odd thing to find on a political site.

And then we have this.

My major objectives is to help the lives of our families who fought in wars to at least have a decent death and the same time helping their families most of them orphans with too much suffering and now left in the mercy of God. I want to curb the rampart corruption which causes too much suffering and death. 

Pedantry aside, this is the point at which I realise that Mr Mubarak really, really needs a proof-reader for his website, because I honestly can’t understand what he is advocating for, but I am absolutely sure it isn’t what it sounds like.  Incidentally, the Matooke gets three times as much space in this paragraph as the veterans do.

Moving on from the front page, we glance quickly at his biography, where we learn that Mubarak was born in Uganda and moved to Australia ‘as a political immigrant with the help of Human Rights Watch.’  He has studied politics and international studies, and has worked in a number of industries, primarily, it seems, in the Mining industry.

Let’s have a look at Mr Mubarak’s Manifesto, which has sixteen points, though the policies mentioned under these points are not necessarily obviously related to the points themselves.  Under ‘Australian Citizen’, Mr Mubarak feels that the current political system promotes hatred and discrimination, and is divisive, and that politicians don’t keep their promises.  He also wants Miners to be responsible for building houses for homeless people in their areas, and I have no idea where that comes from, and he feels that with love, everything is possible, and that Australia is wealthy enough that we should be able to look after everyone properly, ‘no excuses’.

I detect a slight naivete here, but it is a very lovable one.

Here’s what he says about the constitution:

I will legislate to amend our old constitution to a new one of the 21st century, which will automatically recognize the first people of this land and their culture, language to be taught in schools on a mandatory basis as a matter of respect and closing the gap. Honestly, that is the honorable thing to do and common sense if we truly believe in justice. It is selfish and bad idea wanting a local government constitution before even changing the old nation’s constitution. I will not support local government constitution, we should rather concentrate on changing the old constitution and set a two term limit for our leaders, period.

I like this a lot.

Under ‘Bill of Rights’, he again wants to criminalise ‘the culture of racism, discrimination, segregation and bullying’, to save lives and money. But he also wants to imprison only violent criminals and corrupt government officials, and re-educate others and the community so that people behave better in future: “Sensitising the community is the best way rather than keep sending people to prisons simply because some people are money orientated with too many powers.”

Under ‘Electoral Commission’, he wants to reform the preferences system and provide funding for ‘every citizen who is capable to contest a seat in this country’ as he feels this will serve the nation in the best interest of the community.

Under ‘Alcohol’, he wants to ban alcohol and smoking, and this, my friends, is why he will never be elected in Australia.  This section is a heartfelt plea to Australians to stop drinking and smoking because of the way alcohol, in particular, ruins lives and ruins health: “There is no spare parts for life”.

I have a lot of sympathy for his intentions, here, but setting aside that a ban on alcohol really does make him nearly unelectable, I also don’t think it would work here any more than it did in the early 20th century in America.

Under ‘Privacy’, we are informed that he will ‘fight like hell to protect people’s privacy’, and under ‘Politician Retirements’ Mr Mubarak tells us that politicians should get the same retirement and superannuation benefits as everyone else – and that everyone should have good superannuation access.  “I will never accept Australian under my jurisdiction losing their superannuation if you support my cause. I will shake the parliament like a mango tree; you will see lazy legislators resigning one by one.”

Let us all have a moment of silence in which to contemplate that gorgeous sentence.  I have to say, one of the things I love most about independents is that they don’t tend to have the edges smoothed off their personalities by the political process.  You get to see real people with real personalities, and I think that’s a pretty good thing, really.

Now we come to ‘Parents Benefits’, and this is where Mr Mubarak loses my theoretical vote.  On the up-side, he wants better maternity leave policies.  On the down side, he wants to abolish Child Protection services.  The money from this would be given to parents in hardship, which is at least a good destination, but he also wants it to be given to cultural leaders to help families to “sensitize families, children in their respective cultural environment how to behave particularly the girls learning how to respect and keep their marriage.”  No mention of how boys or husbands should behave, I note.  He will also “never allow gay people dealing with our children”, though he feels that this should be allowed to be debated.  Once again, he feels that politicians and police (hmm) have no place in determining how families should work, and that the real solution is a more loving society in general.  And, well, yes, that probably is the best long-term solution, but in the short term, I want the capacity to keep people in abusive homes safe.  Mr Mubarak wants to both enact tough laws against ‘those who cheat in a relationship’, and legalise polygamy ‘as long as they love each other and agree to keep that relationship safe’, in order to reduce infidelity.  I may be being unfair here, but I somehow doubt that he is in favour of women having multiple husbands…

Under ‘Muslim Rights’, Mr Mubarak would end discrimination against Muslims and ‘fight like hell for Eid public holiday’.  Which is where he might pick up the votes he lost by banning alcohol…

Mr Mubarak will reduce electricity bills.  But he doesn’t say how this will work, exactly.

Under ‘Wars’, we have quite a mixed bag.  Mr Mubarak wants community consultation for wars, and I think this is *awesome*.  He wants better pensions for veterans.  He wants the police to learn Kung Fu rather than carrying tasers.  He wants a multicultural and gender balanced military and police force, and a youth brigade to protect our elderly and businesses.  I find it interesting that Mr Mubarak seems to view police and military as largely the same thing.  Mr Mubarak is also passionate about supporting the families of African veterans forced to fight in World War 2.

Under ‘Small business’, we are again told about the benefits of Matooke.  Mr Mubarak would protect small business, but it looks like he will do this at the cost of farmers, as he wants to open the borders for importing food.

Under ‘Job Network’, we are informed that it is unfair to penalise people for being unemployed when the jobs aren’t actually there (which is true), and that more money should go into education.  I quite agree.

Under ‘Parliament’, he wants our politicians to represent their constituents and debate all issues like grown-ups.  Hear, hear.

Mr Mubarak’s Asylum Seekers policy is quoted in full, because I think he’s spot on.  But then, he, of all people, should know what he’s talking about on this topic!

Can some people in this country use common sense to ask themselves why should some one run away from his/her beloved country?. We should all remember that the majority in this country, the most successful and that includes politician whom you see shouting stop the boats, all came from other people’s shoes. If you don’t want Asylum seekers in your country, don’t provoke their way of life. Don’t invade their countries. They come here knowing that we are the best friends who fights to protect them and give them education and a better future. They come here running from torture and killings crying for parental help to save their lives as human beings. I will legislate to criminalize those who detain children and women and the minister concerned should be held responsible. Laws should be enacted so that Immigration Minister, Foreign affairs Minister, and opposition leaders should all visit refugee camps on a monthly basis and report direct to the parliament chamber. We have human rights obligation of treating people with dignity and respect. We are a nation which believes in democracy, justice, human rights and protection. We don’t need to detain, punish and psychologically torture people because of giving them visas. Taking advantage over other people’s lives is wrong, we must lead by examples if we truly are in their countries for help and protection as we claim to be the most contributors to those in need. Millions of tax payer’s money have been spent just punishing women and children. We have a huge empty land which can be used to allow these people do a lot of things like farming to promote our economy.

Hear, hear.

Finally, under ‘Media’, Mr Mubarak again wants to ban discrimination.  But then he goes off into a really weird tangent about the Vice-President of Dubai (with photograph) and also the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, urges us all to travel with Emirates and Qantas, and then we have several paragraphs in Arabic, which I unfortunately can’t read.  But honestly, I couldn’t make much sense of the English in this paragraph, either, so I’m not going to venture an opinion on any of it!

Outside his website, Google shows me that Mr Mubarak is doing his best to attract the Muslim vote, with brief articles on aussiemuslims.net and perthcitymusallah.com , including the following how-to-vote statement from last year (when he ran in the lower house).

I AM NUMBER FIVE ON THE GREEN BALLOT PAPER.  MARK 1 IN THE BOX BESIDES MY NAME; MUBARAK KIM. THEN, FOLLOW YOUR HEART JUDGE THE REST ACCORDINGLY. YOU MUST NUMBER EVERY BOX FOR YOUR VOTE TO COUNT. IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, DON’T PANIC, GENTLY ASK FOR ANOTHER BALLOT PAPER AND START AGAIN.

I completely love this.  More politicians should hand out how to vote cards that tell us to follow our hearts and not to panic if we make a mistake.

In fact, I love that so much, that this is how I am going to end my mini-series on the Western Australian Senate Election.

Western Australians – good luck tomorrow!  Know that the rest of Australia is watching with both hope and trepidation to see what you will do with the ballot box.  So please – remember to vote, and when you do, follow your hearts – but use your minds as well, because you deserve good politicians and so do the rest of us!  Vote below the line if the mood takes you, and remember – if you make a mistake, don’t panic!  Whether or not you get a new ballot paper is up to the AEC, but you may be assured that even if your ballot is full of crossings-out and re-writing, you will have a whole team of people looking at it to try to determine that sacred thing – the Intent Of The Voter.

Your vote really does count.  Use it wisely.

Wish I were there…

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4 thoughts on “Western Australian Senate Ungrouped Independent ~ Kim Mubarak

  1. Thanks for all your work in providing info on these candidates!’

    Not sure about some of your logic though – if I see a group of soccer players, it’s fairly safe to assume certain things about them… Pattern recognition: it’s terribly unpopular to point it out these days, but it’s a major part of how we make sense of the world…

    Someone making assumptions about you at first glance would not identify you as a “Lieshout”, because in our society, that’s not typical for someone looking like you. I imagine 95% of most people’s assumptions would be spot-on – language, age, class, attitudes to others, acceptance of differences, literacy, attitudes to smoking or cruelty to animals, etc etc etc

    • Thanks very much for your comment.

      I agree that pattern recognition is a real and useful thing – I imagine we evolved to use it as a sort of short-hand to manage expectations when meeting new people or new situations. And I think that’s OK, but it’s also not an excuse.

      I think it’s analogous to something I read on John Scalzi’s blog today about sexism – he was talking about the fact that he is more likely to remember a face if that person is attractive and female. And this is probably biology, and can’t be helped. But it means that it is incumbent on him to be aware of this and not treat people differently as a result of that biology.

      I don’t think it’s unfair to look at someone and have one’s brain start sorting them into categories based on social markers of various kinds – but if that sorting causes you to treat them in a less kind or respectful fashion than you would someone from a different category, without any further evidence of their actual character, then you have a problem.

      (Which is certainly not to say one should instantly trust and befriend everyone, either – I’m pretty wary of most people, to be honest – but I think consciously working not to base one’s reactions to people on one’s internal pattern recognition software is important)

      For what it’s worth, incidentally, I have experienced what I am now going to call the ‘Lieshout Effect’ in my own life. The fact that I am Christian has made at least one friend of mine feel nervous about coming out to me, so there is clearly some pairing of Christian and homophobic going on in the public mind, and this saddens me very much. And I’ve certainly been at a job interview and asked (illegal!) questions about whether I plan to have children, just because I was female and in my twenties (didn’t even have a wedding ring at the time). Actually, the experiences of my friends and colleagues suggest that this is pretty common. On an entirely different level, if I wander around Coburg in my long black skirts looking Mediterranean and talking about food (or doing cross-stitch on the tram), I am positively *showered* with approval for being such an excellent example of Mediterranean / Middle Eastern womanhood, and it’s amazing how safe I feel travelling on public transport at night with this protective coloration. I apparently remind everyone of their sisters and aunties…!

      So I suppose I do have a personal stake in the idea of not being judged according to other people’s pattern recognition. While people don’t look at me and see a potential terrorist, they clearly do see things in me that do not reflect who I actually am. And while I can use this to my benefit, I’m not sure it’s a good thing.

      (Oh dear, I didn’t mean to write an essay at you! I just started figuring some of this out as I was writing, I really didn’t mean to be arguing at you to this extent.)

  2. This is a wonderful write-up! Also, I get such a picture of Kim Mubarak as a person from it (especially the Kung Fu police services!), and I think I would like to have some candidates in our upcoming local elections volunteer to shake the city council like a mango tree until all the rotten ones fall out. I also think the policy about the Immigration Minister visiting every refugee camp monthly in person is an excellent one. Anyhow, this is to say, I think your blog is entirely deserving of being archived permanently :-).

    • Thank you! To be fair, the sense one gets of Mubarak as a person really does come from the fact that he has a very personal website. And the mango tree thing is just brilliant, isn’t it?

      (One of these days, I should seriously sit down and collect all my favourite policies from different parties and write my own political platform – because I do find that often even the tiniest, craziest parties and independents have at least one policy that is unique and really quite brilliant. Which is enough to restore one’s faith in humanity, really!)

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