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jayme diaz

Will F.A.M.E. finally realise its dream for a Filipino-Australian in the Parliament?

jayme diaz
Jayme Diaz, Greenway
Carmen Garcia (266x320)
Carmen Garcia, Adelaide

At a glance, the logo of  the Sydney-based  Filipino Australian Movement for Empowerment (FAME) could be interpreted as Liza Minelli’s  outstretched arm reaching for the stars.

But to one  who has followed   FAME’S high and low  during the past five years,  the logo encapsulates  both the dream and the hard tasks the association had encountered to reach out to Filipinos living in Australia to be aware and participate in Australian political life.

FAME recently celebrated its 5th Anniversary at the Rooty Hill RSL Club in Rooty Hill, NSW not with he characteristic stage recognition of distinguished Filipino achievers during the past year but with a few speeches and the characteristic Filipino merry-making including  a disco and retro fashion display.

Member for Chifley Mr Ed Husic (Labor), Blacktown Councillor Jackie Dolnaldson (Liberal) presenting Blacktown Mayor Robinson (Liberal) and Philippine Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis attended and honoured FAME in leading the toast to the fifth anniversary of the association. Also present was Blacktown Councillor Jess Diaz,

During the past five years, FAME has  declared support  to the following candidates in one Federal  election and two local government unit  (LGU) elections:  Blacktown councillor Jess Diaz in two LGU elections,  Venus Priest, in 2010 Federal election  for the seat of Chifley, Jayme Diaz, Ronaldo Villaver and Michael Santos  (open  choices) in 2010 Federal election for the  seat of Greenway.

In the coming September 7 Federal election, there are two Filipino Australian candidates, namely, solicitor Mr Jayme Diaz (Liberal) for the seat of Greenway  in New South Wales and Ms Carmen Garcia (Liberal), for the seat of Adelaide in South Australia. Diaz is  running against incumbent member for Greenway Mrs Michele Rowland and Garcia, against incumbent Member for Adelaide Ms Kate Ellis.

A solicitor himself, Mr Jame Diaz is son of Blacktown Councillor and solicitor Jess Diaz and  youth leader Ms Carmen Garcia, daughter of current president of Filipino Communities Council of Australia or FILCCA and Adelaide solicitor Mrs  Aida Garcia.

Mr Cesar Bartolome, long serving FAME administrator said the association supported also a few other Fil-Australian candidates in LGU elections in New South Wales, disregarding party  affiliation. Bartolome  took  exception that FAME only declares support and not endorse candidates as FAME is not  political party.

In  his message  during   FAME’s gala celebration at Rooty Hill RSL last 27 July, FAME  Executive Director Mr Rod Dingle testified that FAME is one very different association to which he was drawn to five year ago.

“Simply,” he said, “it is a Movement that encourages  and supports Filipinos in Australia to become active participants in Australian Community and with particular emphasis in Australian politics.”

Mr Dingle echoed  the characteristic alienation experienced  by  many  who have witnessed   community  leaders who have  anecdotally  closed their vision as soon as they stake a claim to leadership  of a community organisation and consequently involve in parochial intramural   struggles, but not in Australian mainstream politics.

At some point,  FAME  was not spared from leadership rivalries which necessitated the exit of some founding members who eventually established  a club which seeks its own place under the sun

And  there was the matter of alleged partiality of the organisation to some  personalities and the club being  reportedly  established mainly to support  one’s  political ambition .

No matter what, FAME moved on and in 2013 has established the four FAME suburban councils of Woodcroft, Marayong Kings Park, Quakers Hill  and Blacktown, all in Blacktown shire.

In the words of  FAME administrator  Cesar Bartolome,  the club already had a journey that led it to encounter and achieve  various milestones along the way.

FAME is not really a kingmaker of sorts right now, but it has somehow succeeded in  waking up   apolitical Filipino migrants towards consciousness for political empowerment.