‘Work in progress’: Australia’s new parliament the most diverse yet – Article by The Guardian

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Tharini Rouwette, the founder and chief executive of the Centre of Multicultural Political Engagement, Literacy, and Leadership (Compell), said the election of diverse candidates should be celebrated but that the level of representation was still “pathetic”.

Her analysis shows about 7% of the House will comprise diverse and Indigenous MPs, which is far lower than in the general Australian population.

The Senate is set to have a majority of women, and 14 new women have been elected to the House of Representatives. Three have lost their seats.

However, the wave of teal independents has been criticised as lacking ethnic and cultural diversity.

Rouwette has been critical of the Climate 200 independents, and said their leadership team was predominantly white.

“It almost seems like climate change is a white issue. It’s not,” she said. “People of colour care about it, but their voices haven’t been heard.”

She set up Compell to collect data on diversity in parliaments, because no one is doing that properly.

“And you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” she said. “I started Compell, because as a migrant myself [from Singapore], I’ve been so frustrated that my ability to participate in democracy was limited.

“I wanted to create something that existed outside the realm of any political agenda.”

Tu Le, a western Sydney lawyer, was backed by the retiring Labor MP Chris Hayes to succeed him in Fowler, but Kristina Keneally was parachuted into the seat instead

Rouwette said it was important to celebrate people of diverse backgrounds that have been elected, particularly someone like Dai Le who ran a grassroots campaign.

But it has been a “very frustrating journey,” she said, with people of colour being ignored or excluded from political organisations, even as volunteers.

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