PETER KHALIL MP
MEMBER FOR WILLS
THE WEEKLY WITH CHARLIE PICKERING
THURSDAY 28 APRIL 2022
Subjects: Diversity in the Australian Parliament
NAZEEM HUSSEIN, INTERVIEWER: Every three years, Australians come together to exercise our democratic right to choose who leads, us with a wide variety of choices. Ranging from this white guy, to this white guy with glasses, or this white guy with slightly different glasses. Or, if you’re feeling really cooky, this white woman, with red hair. We also elect around 150 people to the House of Representatives. But if elected politicians are supposed to represent the society in which we live, my question is, why do they all seem to be white? Australia is a diverse nation, with 30% of the population born overseas, with people coming here from nearly all parts of the globe. Yet, our parliament is far less diverse with only 4% coming from non-Anglo or European backgrounds. There was only one thing to do about it, run for office. But first, I needed to talk to an expert for some advice. A real life brown MP. You’re a glitch in the matrix. You do realise that you are an anomaly.
PETER KHALIL, MEMBER FOR WILLS: Do you know that like, people said to me, you can’t run. People won’t vote for you because of the way you look.
KHALIL: And I remember growing up watching TV and not seeing brown faces, except for Kamahl on “Hey, Hey, it’s Saturday”
KHALIL: Legend. So, I think that that lack of diversity in the media, present company excluded, you’ve busted through the barriers. I think just on talent, right?
HUSSEIN: Oh, absolutely. Pure talent, no box ticking.
KHALIL: But you know what it’s like. The amount of barriers and obstacles you’ve got to overcome. It’s hard for migrants and people of diverse backgrounds to do that.
HUSSEIN: Okay, Peter, how do I make myself more electable?
KHALIL: It’s really all about being genuine, Nazeem. People will know if you care, they’ll know that you’ve done the hard work on good policies.
HUSSEIN: I completely understand.