Fowler – Australia 2022

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  1. For me, my objection to Keneally running here has absolutely nothing to do with “diversity”. I honestly couldn’t care less about who has the greater claim to “being diverse”. My objection has everything to do with fitness to represent the electorate. If Keneally had lived in Western Sydney at some point in her life, I’d feel very different.

  2. Nicholas

    100% agree. There are two types of immigrants in Australia; those from English and non-English speaking backgrounds, and the concept that they mean the same thing is pathetic.

  3. Ben,

    Thanks for letting my provocative post go through.

    While not exactly on Fowler the point you make about Parliament not reflecting the face of Australia is spot on. There are about 1m people who identify as having Chinese heritage in Australia and there aren’t that many people with Chinese heritge in Australain parliament (Senator Wong, Goodenough and Lui – any others?). On a per capital basis it should be about 10.

    Interestingly (at least to me), there are 221 members of Federal Parliament. According to the 2016 census 3.3% of the population self identified as being indigenous. Putting aside the debate of the validity of self-identification as the way to catergorise someone’s ethnicity, 3.3% of the population would mean 7.49 parliamentarians would also identify as indigenous. According to the parliamentry webpage 6 parliamentarians consider themselves to be indigenous or having indigenous heritage, being:

    Linda Burney, MP (ALP, Barton, NSW)
    Ken Wyatt, MP (LIB, Hasluck, WA)
    Senator Pat Dodson (ALP, WA)
    Senator Jacqui Lambie (JLN, Tas.)
    Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (ALP, NT) and
    Senator Lidia Thorpe (GRN, Vic.).

    Given the Country Liberal Party has selected Jacinta Price for the next Senate election and assuming the people listed above are re-elected then there will be 7 politicians who identify as being indigenous which is pretty much reflective of the general population.

    I am not sure if I first think of Bob Katter when politicitans with Lebanese heritage are mentioned… which raises the question who measures diversity and what does it actually mean.

    On the liberal party and women it has been mentioned to me by a female candidate for pre-section (who ran a close second in a safe seat pre-selection) is that the liberal party has a woman problem. But not what you would expect. Namely, the woman problem is that a proportion of women (about 10% on her estimate) in the party will not vote for a woman in a pre-selction because this group of females think that a woman’s role is in the home……. When you have 5% of the pre-selectors not voting for you under any circumstances it is very very hard to win a contested pre-selection. In a multi-candidate pre-selection when you are female excluded in 3th or 4th place by one or two votes amplifies this issue. As if you make the final two you might have had a very good chance of winning.

    Back to Fowler – TL has probably lost the pre-selection this time. But her real test is to get a “cunning plan” together and get a deal to “drop out” on the understanding that she is up for selection in 2 or 3 terms when KK retires. Or a State seat…. And trust that her deal will be welshed on and work the local branches and state machine /factions even harder. Making sure TL gets herself selected is the path to diversity.

    Second last point – when KK replaced the first Iranian born Senator (Sam Dastyari) in the Senate I don’t recall there being outrage that the Senate was becoing less “diverse”. When Ed Husic “resigned” so KK could get on the front bench and have balance in the factions I only recall a mumour of dissent. Despite EH having a muslim and Bosnian heritage…. And it was good to see EH back on the front bench at the first opportunity after “doing the right thing”.

    Last point – I think that KK is more popular within the labor party than she is with the average punter. I am sure she will win Fowler when (if) pre-selected as it is such a safe seat but will that improve the labor party’s chance of forming government. Not so sure.

    PS: Autumn and WD – glad you enjoyed my earlier post.


  4. Paul Keating on the diversity debate:

    “And on the diversity point, she’s a migrant herself – she got off the plane and scrambled her way to the NSW premiership, which is a pretty big effort, a pretty good effort.”

  5. Pollster, Welcome your contribution and your make some very interesting points especially if your second last point about competing diversity (Is Gender diversity or ethnic/cultural diversity more important) Your points about Sam Dastyari and EH was very important and worth pondering. i remember a female colleague of mine being disappointing that Julie Bishop was not selected as leader when Turnbull left even through i thought it was a milestone that JF was elected deputy and would have been the first Jewish and non anglo-celtic deputy leader. AA also states that he is the first leader of a major federal party with a non-angloceltic surname. Same thing issue recently when Matt Guy returned as leader of Victorian liberals there was some disappointment that David Southwick was selected instead of Louise Staley even though i think DS as a Jewish person shows diversity in the Liberal party. The Labor party has been successful at almost reaching gender parity if the Liberals had the same level of success that maybe Gender representation will be achieved and then the conversation will move on to other forms of diversity. It needs to be remembered that Australia was a pioneer in women’s suffrage and 120 years later we still dont have gender balance in parliament. But that just my contribution and i am keen for others to share their views in this robust discussion.


    Citizenship based franchise discrimination is one reason that non-Aboriginal People of Colour are a smaller proportion of the parliament than the population. Groups with higher rates of citizenship make up a higher percentage of the voting population. Aboriginal People are almost all citizens as very few were not born here, so they comprise a larger proportion of the voting population than the overall population. Anglo-Celtic people have the next highest rate of citizenship and also the bulk of pre-1984 “British Subject” permanent resident voting population (mostly UK, NZ and Irish citizens), partly (and I do mean only party) explaining their larger share of parliamentarians than total population. Non-British Isles Europeans have the next highest rate of citizenship (plus some pre-1984 Maltese and Cypriot permanent resident voters). While non-Aboriginal People of Colour have a higher rate of non-citizenship and of those without citizenship, few are pre-1984 “British Subject” voters.

    Age based voting discrimination may also be a factor. Groups that skew younger have a lower proportion of the voting population, particularly with recent immigrant groups where a disproportionate proportion of Australian Citizens in recent immigrant groups are children due to Australian Citizenship being automatic for children of permanent residents born here and automatic for children of other non-citizens who have lived here for 10 years.

  7. KK is calling the big guns to rescue her from oblivion before election, this really a donkey move…simple fact: she is not from western sydney and she is doing this for her selfish career move and not for electorates of fowler…this american migrant did not give a damn about Fowler…

  8. Thanks for all your comments above. Lots of very good interesting points. A few issues that stood out.

    Positive that there may be 8 or 9 indigenous members in the next parliament.

    Age – more broadly than just voting – most politicians are in their 40s, 50s and 60s and those who make the decisions, that is ministers and primeminsters / premiers – are predominantly in their late 40s and early 50s. Of the nine leaders of Governement in Australia, 7 were born in a 7 year period from 1968 to 1973 and the other two were born in 1976 and 1964. Not much diversity here… Although the 34 year old lib leader in WA probably had the least sucessful election result ever (the word probably is most likely redundant). So maybe the constituents want leaders who are old enough but not too old?

    Based on what I see on the daily press conferences there is a similar age issue with all the medical experts that the leaders are listening to (and taking their advice almost unquestionly). Which leads to decisions that don’t impact on these people too much – our cohort can work from home and have family living with us and we don’t go out to party with our friends. Whereas young people are doing remote learning seperated from their friends, go out partying and want to socailse and play sport. And older people are trapped in aged care or living alone and their grand children can’t visit. Another example of unconsious bias?

    And guess when KK was born – 1968……. So perhaps TL’s greated contribution to diversity would have been her relative youthfulness? Guess we will never know as by the time she gets pre-selection in 10 years she will just be another 40 something year old back bencher.

    Also my understanding (not being a member of a political party) is that the membership of the two major parties have an average age of somewhere in their 60s. This is because retired people generally have more time to spend on “other interests” rather than working to pay off a big mortgage and take the children to sport (although a lot of Grandparents are now conscripted to babysitting…). The consequence is that older people are pre-selected to be candidates as they are more likely to reflect the older person’s views (lower tax on superannuation and more funding for retirement homes) than younger people’s issues (child care and education and affordability of a home)……

    Nimalen – your comments about the Vic Libs are spot on. More generally, with out actually looking at the back grounds of each Lib member of parliament, the Vic Libs have the least diversity of any opposition or government party in Australia compared to the constiuency that they have to win to form Governement. In particular, the party is incredibly “anglo-celtic” compared to the Melbourne demographics. The Vic Libs just don’t resonate with an incredibly diverse constituency and it is why Victoria has effectively been a one party state since 1999. The previous leader before Matthew Guy (born 1974) was Michael O’Brien (born 1971) who was born in Ireland (and moved here when he was very young) so I suppose he is an immigrant who has done good (at least on Keating’s view).

    Anyway prediction time – KK to win preselection and be elected as member for Fowler at the next election. I do feel for TL and hope that she doesn’t “throw it in”.



  9. Pollster
    I don’t 100% agree that a lack of ‘diversity’ is at the heart of the Victorian Liberal Party’s electoral problems though it has to be said they don’t have someone with the background of a Gladys Berijiklian. They have definitely moved to the right and becomes less ‘broad church’ than they used to be – even since 2014. The big problem is that they have lost geographic ‘markets’ and failed to develop new ones. They lost seats in Ballarat, Bendigo and the Macedon region in 1999 and they lost seats in Cranbourne and Narre Warren in 2002 and have never won them back. They have also failed to move into the Melbourne growth areas such as the Western and parts of the Northern Suburbs. My view is that they are lazy and afraid to put in the hard work and if you can’t see the seat from Toorak, Kew or Brighton it is not worth fighting for.


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