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Ministerial Swearing in Ceremony at the Government House Canberra

Australia's first Muslim frontbencher Ed Husic takes oath on Quran

On Monday 1st of July 2013,The Governor-General to the Commonwealth of Australia Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO issued the Oaths and Affirmations of Office and Executive Councillor to the newly appointed Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries during a swearing-in ceremony at Government House, Canberra. Mr Husic became Australia's first Muslim frontbencher on Monday when he was appointed to Kevin Rudd's new-look ministry as parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister and parliamentary secretary for broadband. The Prime Minister's new parliamentary secretary, Ed Husic was sworn in to his position with a Quran.

The Prime Minister's new parliamentary secretary, Ed Husic, has been subjected to a torrent of abuse online for being sworn in to his position with a Quran. The Australian-born member for the western Sydney seat of Chifley, the son of Bosnian immigrants, in 2010 became the first Muslim elected to federal parliament and is the first to take on a ministry position.

"This is a wonderful day for multiculturalism, and everything it stands for in our country," Governor-General Quentin Bryce told Mr Husic during the swearing-in ceremony in Canberra on Monday.

These were also positive posts referring to Mr Husic's elevation to Mr Rudd's new line-up.
"Congrats on your appointment as Parliamentary Secretary Ed. Well deserved acknowledgement of your talents, commitment and hard work. Choice of portfolio is perfect for you Ed," one said.
"So proud of you Ed ..." another added.

However, after receiving dozens of messages of congratulations on his Facebook page, the comments quickly turned to disgust and outrage that he had chosen to be sworn in on the Muslim Holy Book.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said people should respect Mr Husic’s choice. ‘‘I respect his choice,’’ he told reporters in Melbourne. ‘‘I think the Australian people should as well.’’

Tony Abbott failed to condemn the online comments outright, but said people should respect Mr Husic's choice.

“I respect his choice,” he told reporters in Melbourne. “I think the Australian people should as well.”

Labor backbencher Michelle Rowland said the Opposition Leader's comments were “extremely weak”.

“Why not condemn the racist abuse directed at him,” she said.

President of the Anti-Discrimination Board and chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission Stepan Kerkyasharian said it was "a sad day for any society" when someone is abused because of their religion.
He said Mr Husic could act as a valuable bridge between the Muslim community and would put Australia at an advantage in the international community.

Ed Husic with the copy of the Koran with which he was sworn in

"It should be an interesting and positive milestone that someone of migrant heritage has come to Australia and has now, through our democratic process, reached a position of leadership," he said.

Ed Husic responds to Quran backlash

Mr Husic, 43, the son of Bosnian Muslim migrants, became the first Muslim to be elected to Parliament when he won his western Sydney seat of Chifley in the 2010 election with 51.58 per cent of votes.

Mr Husic said those who questioned his decision were a “natural part of democracy - it's a good thing that people can ask those questions”.

It was important that Australians be brought together and “it's also important that we not necessarily jump because of harsh words out of dark corners”.

Mr Husic said it was “right” for people to express their concerns.

“But I also think that you will have from time to time people at the extremes - there are people definitely that are extreme within my faith and people that are extreme outside it - and they will always try to seek ways in which to divide people,” he told Sky News.

Mr Husic said swearing the oath on the Quran was, for him, a straightforward decision.
“Now I couldn't obviously take my oath on a Bible and I didn't want to affirm. I am who I am.”

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