“During his address to 42 new citizens at ‘Monash council’s Australia Day ceremony, the mayor has abused his position by declaring that the City of Monash prefers if you voted Labor.”
“It is a disgraceful misuse of his position and completely inappropriate that an elected official such as Mayor Klisaris has used a bipartisan and apolitical occasion to promote his own political ideology,” Ms Peulich said.
Ms Peulich, who migrated to Australia from a communist regime, expressed concern that migrants who came from authoritarian regimes may see the mayor’s comment as an instruction they must obey.
“Being instructed how to vote by people in positions of authority such as Mayor Klisaris is a matter than can be perceived very differently by people who have lived under left wing and right wing dictatorships as is the case among many of our new citizens.” Ms Peulich said.
“The mayor must apologise publically to the Monash community and to all who attended the citizenship ceremony and explain that in Australia, citizens are free to vote according their wishes without fear of retribution from any authorities or the government as may have been the case in some countries around the world, including from which they may have fled.”
“Mayor Klisaris must make an apology to the residents and ratepayers of the City of Monash, to his council colleagues and to local Members of Parliament who were present for this appalling and blatant abuse of his position,” Ms Peulich said.
“I have also today written to the Federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection seeking an investigation of the incident , and the Mayor’s conduct since to determine if Cr Klisaris should continue to preside over citizenship ceremonies.”
“The Department of Immigration and Border Protection requires all citizenship ceremonies conducted under their jurisdiction to be inclusive, to be secular and to be bipartisan and apolitical,” Ms Peulich said.
“It is abhorrent that in our wonderful western democracy, that a city’s official spokesperson should breach this important protocol and to do so on our national day of celebration, Ms Peulich said.