Meet Frank Alafaci, a politically minded academic who is actively campaigning as an ALP candidate for pre-selection in the culturally diverse seat of Reid in Sydney.
Although he has been a member of the Labor party for 21 years, Mr Alafaci has only recently stepped into the spotlight – reaching out to the ethnic media in an attempt to connect with voters.
In a wide-ranging interview with El Telegraph Weekend, Mr Alafaci has expressed a desire to connect with multicultural communities by communicating his views for equality and affordable access to healthcare, education and housing.
“I want to actively engage ethnic communities,” Mr Alafaci told El Telegraph Weekend. “The concerns of all communities have equal weight in my eyes and I understand that different communities have different interests and issues.
“I meet with leaders and gain a broader perspective of issues and my plan is to firstly listen, secondly address issues and then implement strategies,” he said.
Mr Alafaci hopes to win over his electorate with views that contrast to those of Craig Laundy, who is a liberal in the seat he wishes to win.
“I want to focus on housing affordability because we have a crisis at the moment. I also want to focus on unemployment and implement ideas for change.
“There are also many broad issues I wish to address- I am totally against the so called ‘Americanisation’ of our education system whereby the current government proposes to dramatically deregulate university fees – so as to allow universities to charge whatever it is they want.
“I believe education is a right and it should not be for the select few who have the wealth. Tertiary, primary and secondary education should be accessible and affordable to everybody,” he said.
In regards to healthcare, Mr Alafaci said he was disappointed when taking his mother to the hospital recently, where he was made to wait a long period of time before seeing a doctor.
After this negative experience, he wishes to advocate for Medicare to remain free of extra charges and aims to address the duration of time elderly patients are made to wait for care.
Mr Alafaci, who is married to Sylvia – a Korean Australian, noted his enthusiasm for multiculturalism and promoting harmony in Australia.
He is also outspoken about the harm in isolating minorities after global events like terrorism.
“I do not agree with portraying the Islamic community as extremists just because of a few rotten apples.
“I certainly believe that 99.99% of the Islamic community is made up of law abiding citizens and they should not be scapegoated for the misdeeds of a few extremist individuals who cast a negative light on the community.”
Mr Alafaci said he is against any changes to section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.
“Individuals should have the right to worship and should not have to endure derogatory comments in public,” said Mr Alafaci.
Working closely with former Foreign Affairs Minister and former Premier of New South Wales Bob Carr and Local Member for Lakemba Jihad Dib, Mr Alafaci said he was on board with Australia recognising Palestine as an independent state.
“I am a strong supporter of the right of Palestine to have its own independent state. This has been approved of by the majority of the United Nations and sanctioned.
“So I am pro-Palestine being recognised as it’s own state, as its right as a nation and I have put this motion forward at our Balmain Labor branch where it was approved,” said Mr Alafaci.
When he is not campaigning for the election, Frank works as an assistant professor in Business Administration, teaching the MBA Project Management course and undergraduate Management Information Systems program at the Universal Business School Sydney (Group Colleges Australia).