“We need to be in there. There are clearly people in the party who don’t have correct information about Islam,” he said.
Sydney Muslim community leader Keysar Trad says he has spoken with both Labor and the Liberals about running for Federal Parliament, but neither has given him the nod.
What kind of a community would have this guy as a leader?
Mr Trad has told the ABC he was in eight months of negotiations with the Labor Party before the last federal election, but they went nowhere.
But a senior Labor source says the talks were aimed at discouraging him at running as an independent in the Lower House seat of Blaxland, which is held by Labor’s Jason Clare.
Mr Trad was invited to join Labor and continue making a contribution from within the party.
But Mr Trad did not take up the invitation, and says he is now interested in seeking preselection from the Liberal Party to run in the Senate.
“I haven’t joined any political party, however I would not discount the possibility of one day joining a party,” Mr Trad told the ABC.
“I’ve raised the issue with improving the community’s representations with both parties, but they’ve made no promises.
“I’ve had a couple of casual discussions with Liberal figures but there are no promises of anything.”
He said a Muslim friend active in the Queensland Liberal National Party had talked to him about filling a Senate vacancy in Queensland but “nothing eventuated”.
“I’m interested in giving more representation for my community, for me my preference is federal, my preference is an Upper House seat,” he said.
Mr Trad said he supported socially progressive policies as well as traditional values.
He said his priority was human rights and he would be at home in either party if they allowed him to continue being outspoken on the issue.
“My ideology is to serve humanity, I’m sort of the harmony between the two [parties],” he said.
But he said if he joined the Liberal Party, his first “stumbling block” would be over the issue of free access to Medicare and the Coalition’s proposed fee for GP visits.
“I would be fighting within the party and sending a strong message that Medicare should always be accessible to everybody,” he said.
Cory Bernardi not convinced Liberals need a ‘party shopper’
But Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has cast doubt on whether Mr Trad would be welcome in the party, because of his views on issues involving Islam.
“I’m not convinced the Liberal Party needs a ‘party shopper’ in search of a political career – particularly one whose agenda includes the acceptance of sharia law in Australia and advocacy for polygamous marriage,” Senator Bernardi told the ABC.
“Of course that’s ultimately a matter for the respective party organisation.”
Mr Trad has previously advocated for some aspects of sharia law but has said that he does not advocate its penal code.
Today he said some Coalition figures had made “very Islam-phobic statements” and said they needed toÂ “interact more with Muslims”.
He said Government whip Phillip Ruddock and NSW Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells attended a multicultural event he held at Parliament House on Tuesday night, while Attorney-General George Brandis had planned to attend.
Mr Trad said that was evidence many in the Liberal Party would welcome increased input from the Muslim community.
But he condemned New South Wales Senator Bill Heffernan’s fake pipe bomb stunt, claiming it was directed at him and his event.
“I am very concerned that Bill Heffernan pulled his security stunt the night before our function,” he said.
“Obviously that sends the wrong message to my community.
“The only way to address that cynicism is to educate them. This makes it crucial that the Liberal Party needs many more Muslims working with it to help them see that Muslims are part and parcel of Australian society.
“We are here and part of Australian society; there is nowhere else for us to go.
“This is one of the reasons why we need to be in there. There are clearly people in the party who don’t have correct information about Islam,” he said.