CANBERRA -- After almost two weeks after Yassmin Abdel-Magied posted controversial Anzac Day comments on Facebook, the young Muslim activist and ABC TV presenter has survived calls for her to be sacked from her part-time position on the board of the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR).
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has finally made the call, resisting the urgings of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Liberal senator Eric Abetz and LNP backbencher George Christensen.
— Jesse Dorsett (@jessedorsett) May 8, 2017
In a letter to Senator Abetz, seen by HuffPost Australia, Bishop said she had spoken to Abdel-Magied personally but decided against "terminating" her because she had apologised for her "highly inappropriate" post and agreed to a mentoring program.
The Council for Australian-Arab Relations is run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Abetz had written to Bishop on April 26 calling for action as a" matter of urgency".
On Anzac Day, Abdel-Magied enraged some veterans and, according to Bishop, caused "deep concern" within the Turnbull Government when she wrote on Facebook "LEST. WE. FORGET. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine ...)"
"Freedom Of Speech Is A White Man's Privilege" https://t.co/TGiM9nEit4— Ardath Whynacht (@ArdathJean) May 2, 2017
The author and activist had deleted the post on the same day and posted an apology.
Bishop revealed in the letter that Abdel-Magied was "mortified" her post was seen as a "reflection and rejection of the sanctity of Anzac Day and the sacrifice of our veterans and their families." She said she intended instead that the post be a "reference to current global conflicts and crises".
"Ms Abdel-Magied acknowledged that her post was inappropriate and had caused deep offence to many in our community," Bishop wrote.
"Given that Ms Abdel-Magied did not seek to defend her words, that the post removed and that she has apologised, there is no need for me to make reference to to the issue of the right of freedom of speech, which has also been raised with me by other members of parliament.
CAAR's acting chairman and the former Deputy Lord Mayor of Adelaide Houssam Abiadhad will now mentor Abdel-Magied.
"In view of Ms Abdel-Magied's apology, the fact that her social media post was made in a private capacity drawing no link to CAAR, as well as her positive contribution to date and her willing agreement to be mentored by an older and more experienced community member, I do not intend to terminate her membership of the board of CAAR," Bishop said.
Responding to the Foreign Minister's letter, Abetz issued a short statement which did not address the result not going his way.
"The fact the Minister has acknowledged the need for Yassmin Abdel Magied to have a personal mentor speaks volumes about her suitability and capacity for taxpayer-funded advisory roles," the Senator wrote.
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