By Deborah Cornwall, ABC.net.au
Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser has labelled Tony Abbott’s use of the term Team Australia “divisive” and “counter-productive”.
Mr Abbott used the phrase when announcing plans for new anti-terrorism laws, raising concerns among community leaders.
The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), which represents more than 150,000 Muslims, boycotted Mr Abbott’s meeting with Muslim leaders in Melbourne after he told a radio station that “everyone has got to be on Team Australia”.
Mr Fraser said the Prime Minister’s choice of language was “terrible”.
“It resonates very, very badly with Australia’s ethnic communities,” he told AM.
“If I were still a member of the Liberal Party I would be totally distraught. I am interested in policy and very much interested in what’s going to happen in the next week, next month, next year.
“You have got to be able to debate, and using that term is almost an attempt to stop or to shut down debate.”
The Race Discrimination Commissioner has warned the Prime Minister and Federal Government should be careful not to cause divisions among the Arab and Muslim community.
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