Victoria, Australia (Star Weekly, Oct 5,2017): A daughter of Vietnamese boat people hopes to raise the voice of the unheard in Victoria’s Parliament if elected to the upper house at the next state election.
Huong Truong, 33, has been pre-selected to represent The Greens in the western metropolitan region following the decision by sitting member Colleen Hartland to retire.
If Ms Truong retains the seat for The Greens, she will become the first Vietnamese-Australian woman elected to Parliament in Australia.
The mother of two, who grew up in Maidstone and Sunshine, said her interest in politics was sparked during her first job out of university, working at Centrelink.
“It was during the Howard years and I was seeing first-hand the effects on people of ‘mutual obligation’ and the horrendous reforms that were introduced,” she said.
Ms Truong has since spent her career working in state and local government, focusing for the past 10 years on environmental sustainability and readying society for climate change.
She remains strongly connected to the Vietnamese community in Melbourne’s west and believes its members share a sense with other groups of being overlooked in the political system.
“I think having a range of different ideas and perspectives can only strengthen the Parliament and improve engagement,” she said.
“The next step needs to be changing the way politics operates and making sure we have greater representation.”
Ms Truong said she would use her background to reach out to a broad range of communities to ensure they don’t fall through the gaps.
“It’s about how to get people who wouldn’t otherwise get a voice to speak for themselves,” she said.
“A lot of people don’t feel represented in the political system and I can build that representation.”