Asian representation in parliament has now doubled. Some advocates say it’s not enough

The number of members of the federal parliament with Asian heritage has doubled since the May 21 election, but diversity advocates say Australia still has a long way to go.
In the previous term, of the 151 seats in the House of Representatives, only three were held by MPs from Asian backgrounds: Gladys Liu of Chisholm in Melbourne, Ian Goodenough of Moore of Perth and Dave Sharma of Wentworth of Sydney.
Since the weekend’s election, however, six candidates of Asian heritage have claimed victory: independent Dai Le of Fowler in Sydney; and Labor candidate Sam Lim of Tangney in Perth, Michelle Ananda-Rajah of Higgins Melbourne, Zaneta Mascarenhas of Swan Perth, Sally Most of Reid Sydney and Cassandra Fernando of Holt Melbourne.

Mr. Goodenough, who now clings to his chair in Western Australia, could potentially take that number seven.

Erin Chew – co-founder of the Australian-Australian Alliance defense network and a former member of the Labor Party – said that although this is an important milestone, it is far enough.
“The good news is that there is a doubling number of Asian Australians going into parliament, but it should not be considered the peak,” Ms Chew told SBS News.
According to the 2016 census, more than 16 per cent of Australia’s population draws their ancestors from Asia.
But six MPs of Asian descent accounted for less than 4 percent of low-seat 151-seat rooms.
And that’s a problem, according to Ms. Chew.

“Six – or possibly seven – politicians in the lower house don’t fit that proportion, so there’s a lot more work to come,” he said.

Osmond Chiu – a fellow researcher at think tank Per Capita and a member of the Labor Party – said that despite the doubling numbers, Asian representation in the Australian parliament remained lower than some of the world’s other progressive democracies.
“More than 5 per cent of New Zealand parliamentarians and more than one in 10 Canadian MPs are of Asian descent,” Mr Chiu said.
“So we really need to take a hard look at why we continue to be behind similar countries and take action,” he said.

So how do the two major parties – Labor and Liberal – do in this election when it comes to Asian representation?

‘You can’t neglect the community or take us for granted’

The Labor Party fielded nine candidates of Asian descent (11 fewer than the Liberal Party), five of whom claimed victory.
While Cassandra Fernando was contesting the safe Labor chair in Holt, and Michelle Ananda-Rajah, Zaneta Mascarenhas and Sally Most were contesting the Liberal marginal seats of Higgins, Swan and Reid respectively, the biggest surprise of them all was Sam Lim of Tangney. .

A former dolphin trainer from Malaysia, Mr. Lim had a mountain to climb.

He faced Scott Morison’s close friend Ben Morton in the Perth chair, who held the chair with a comfortable margin of 9.5 percent.
But that has changed this weekend with Labor taking place in Pearce, Swan, Hasluck and Tangney.
Ms Chew said Labor’s surprise victory in Tangney could be attributed to Asian representation in a diverse cultural region.
“Tangney has a large population of Chinese voters. Sam can speak 10 languages ​​… [including] English, Bahasa Melayu [Malay] and Chinese languages ​​like Mandarin and Cantonese, “he said.

“So he was able to communicate effectively and engage with the community. And the community saw people who looked like them and were able to represent them effectively.”


But not all Labor candidacy choices went into plan.
At Fowler headquarters in south-west Sydney, which has a strong Vietnamese community, Labor parachuted former Senator Kristina Keneally to contest the seat, canceling the choice of rank members and local records for the pre-selection of Australian lawyer Tu Le.

Independent Dai Le campaigned hard for Ms Keneally’s candidacy and the fact that she was not a local, she had traditionally secured a place in Labor and claimed 52.39 per cent of the vote on a two-party preference basis.

“The results show that [pre-selecting Kristina Keneally] it was a mistake, “Tu Le said.
“My community sends a very clear message to all parties, really, that you can’t neglect the community or take us for granted.
“Most parties do not want to take members of the community.
“Especially with a community like mine and a large number of immigrants and refugees, community members are saying that ‘our vote counts and what we think is important’.”
Independent Dai Le – a former Liberal Party candidate – said it was the “arrogance” of the Labor Party that forced him to contest Fowler’s chair first.

Dai Le told SBS News, “The Labor Party has been arrogant enough to parachute someone from the Northern Beaches, who has no roots in this community, no connection to this community, and has basically been take us for fools.

Ms. Dai Le said she was elected with the support of her community.
“I think my victory in the community is quite important … it shows they are backing someone who is actually someone from the community, someone, who is not connected to any big car,” he said.
Mr Chiu of Per Capita said this “disappointing result for Labor” showed “there are no safe seats anymore”, with voters abandoning “previous voting patterns because of their important representation”.
“What is happening is fragmentation of the political system,” he said.
If voters are disappointed by one party, they will not necessarily vote for other major parties in Australia’s two-party system, he said.

“Now they want to vote for Greens and independents,” he said.

‘Failure for failure begins with’: How the Liberal candidates went

Australia’s Liberal Party had 20 candidates with Asian backgrounds – 11 more than the Labor Party – of whom none claimed victory.
MPs sitting Gladys Liu in Chisholm and Dave Sharma in Wentworth have lost their seats, with Mr Goodenough of Moore leading with a thin margin at the moment but unable to claim victory.

“I think the reason is why [these sitting] The rejection of Liberal Party candidates is due to the failure of the Morrison government and its position on a number of issues – from wages to climate integrity and the way it has handled the pandemic’s response, “Mr Chiu said.


“The candidates could not overcome the fact that the vote for them was a vote for Scott Morrison,” he said.
As for the other 17 candidates, who did not sit in the House of Representatives, Ms. Chew said they had no hope of succeeding in getting started.
“A winnable chair in Australia is widely regarded as one where there is a margin of 6 per cent or less,” Ms Chew said.
“But if you look at these 17 Liberal Asian candidates, 14 of them were competing in safe Labor seats with a margin of more than six per cent, which means they were set for failure to begin with.”
In Southwestern Bennelong – with a large population of Chinese and Korean heritage – Liberal presidential candidate Craig Chung, who was neglected in favor of Simon Kennedy, said he was “disappointed because no one. [the Liberal] candidates of Asian background have been elected “.
“The real question is, ‘Why?’ he said.
“Both major political parties have been terrible at choosing candidates with Asian backgrounds in their seats,” he said.
Worker Jerome Laxale won the Bennelong blue chair and Mr. Chung said the change was made because the Liberal Party did not listen to the local community.
“More than 40 percent of Bennelong’s population has an Asian heritage … and this community has spoken. They want representatives of communities that think like them, act like them, look like them, and reflect their values.

“And in many cases that didn’t happen – on both the Labor and Liberal sides.”

Asian representation in parliament has now doubled. Some advocates say it’s not enough Source link Asian representation in parliament has now doubled. Some advocates say it’s not enough

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