Political representation of Australian-Indians in three tiers of Government


Political representation of Australian-Indians in three tiers of Government

Room 920, Level 9
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


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T: 0383445284


Australia is a migrant nation with twenty-nine per cent of Australian population having at least one parent born overseas (ABS, 2016). Despite the multicultural composition of its people, equality before law of all persons, Australia’s Parliament predominantly comprises members of British and European descent. Indians are among the fastest growing ethnic community in Australia that contributes positively to its economy. This Report addresses the question whether Australian-Indians are under-represented in the three tiers of government and if so, what factors contribute to their under-representation.

The Report draws on census and electoral data from the recent Federal elections, and state and local council elections in New South Wales and Victoria, home to the largest percentage of Australian Indian population. Data is also gathered from other traditional immigrant nations for a statistical comparison. Semi-structured interviews on the experiences of candidates – past and present – who have succeeded or failed in their candidature for political representation in these elections complement the statistical analysis. Views of Indian community leaders and their expectations on political representation in Australia add to the qualitative data.

Ongoing analysis reveals that Australian-Indians are underrepresented in all three tiers of government. As a young diaspora, Australian Indian candidates face both systemic and institutional challenges in seeking candidature from political parties. Whilst political representation is continually under consideration in other immigrant-receiving countries such as the USA, Canada, the UK and New Zealand for similar-sized Indian diaspora, Australia is lagging behind.

Light refreshment will be provided from 12:45pm.


  • Dr Surjeet  Dhanji
    Dr Surjeet Dhanji, Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne