26 February 2020

Osmond Chiu: “Australian politics is too white. It is less diverse than comparable countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada. This is embarrassing. We cannot be “the most successful multicultural society in the world”, as former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote, if our institutions do not reflect Australia’s cultural diversity. The lack of diversity hurts our democracy. It leads to more disconnected, myopic and polarised debates about race and national identity. The homogenous nature of Australian politics is one reason why politicians find it difficult to deal with issues like foreign interference because there is insufficient cultural and political knowledge of the foreign entities the government seeks to legislate against. A truly representative parliament is necessary if we want Australia to successfully navigate big foreign and domestic policy challenges, and to reflect the values of equality which Australia stands for.” Chiu calls for three changes: parties should publicly report on their diversity targets; parties and community organisations should train potential candidates; and there should be a national anti-corruption commission and limits on political donations to address the perception that non-white candidates are susceptible to foreign interference.