What’s their take in the upcoming elections?


By Rekha Rajvanshi

As we settle here and make Australia our home, some of us are also becoming confident enough to play our role in Australian politics. There are various reasons: an inclination towards politics, issues that sit on our minds and our close connection with the our community which is now fast becoming a sizeable number in its own right. Areas such as Blacktown, Glenwood,  Rooty Hill, Westmead, Parramatta and further out in the west one can see an explosion in the Indian population.  As a result there are some keen and active members who are standing in these current state elections and have been working hard for the  past many months. With their posters  all over their constituency the  NSW elections have become an interesting battle ground  flaunting new faces, new blood and fresh approach. Definitely people who have come forward and taken bold steps to play their roles already are quite active and well known in their circles and do have not only the connection but a pulse of the community they represent. They know what the migrant community wants and are sensitive to its needs. Here are some of the candidates that TIDU came across:

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Susai Benjamin

Australian Labor Party Candidate for Seven Hills

Susai Benjamin is a current Councillor on Blacktown City Council. He is a Solicitor and Barrister and Notary Public with more than 25 years’ experience in policy and legislation development and litigation within the NSW Government. He worked to defend the 50% discount on pensioners’ Council rates, to keep Mt Druitt Pool open to the public, increase educational resources for emerging communities, retain Council-run child care centres and consult the community about the retention of open spaces for current and future needs of local families in the past.

Susai says, “Anne and I have lived in Toongabbie for over 25 years and we raised our three children here. I have worked consistently for the good of Western Sydney, especially for those living between Parramatta and Blacktown. I’m delighted to advocate for our wonderfully diverse community. I care about our area. With my vision, commitment, energy and passion, I will continue to be a strong community advocate.”

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Reena Jethi

Liberal Candidate for Legislative Council


Reena Jethi has a Masters in English and Education. She migrated to Australia in the year 2000. She lives in Baulkham Hills with her family. Reena has been working as a schoolteacher; she has always supported her students and the women, who make a big section of the society.

Reena says, “I work as teacher and have helped my students and their families. I believe that the politics is another venue to help the community. Throughout this campaign, I will be working hard to promote educational opportunities for young women so that they may be empowered to achieve their dreams, as there is no greater way to break down negative attitudes towards women than to educate people of the great contribution of women to society. As Helen Keller once wrote, the highest result of education is tolerance.”

Reena strongly support Liberal Party and have full faith in their initiatives. Her main objective is to provide quality education to the younger generation of the community, especially women so they are not deprived of quality education and can fulfill their dreams.

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Raman Bhalla

Liberal Candidate from Blacktown


Raman Bhalla migrated from the Punjab region in India in 2000. He is an accomplished chattered accountant and runs his own accounting business. Raman has lived in the Glenwood area with his wife and two young daughters for more than 10 years.

Raman is committed to continuing the good work of the Mike Baird Liberal Team and will fight to ensure essential services such as health, transport and education are delivered to Blacktown.

Mr Bhalla says, “My first priority is creating local job opportunities for residents of Blacktown so they don’t have to commute out of the area. I would also work towards creating more opportunities for small businesses in Blacktown. I catch the train to the city every day for work and through my observations I have seen many areas that could be improved with better representation.”

When TIDU met Raman Bhalla at Premier Baird’s meet with the Indian community, he was quite charged up as he  said, “I meet around 400-500  people  everyday door knocking and at railway stations and try to connect with the public  spending about 18 hours every day convassing.”

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Aisha Amjad

Labor Candidate for the Legislative Council


Aisha Amjad has a BA/LLB (Hons), a Graduate Certificate in Legal Practice, a Professional Certificate in Arbitration & Mediation, a Certificate in Australian Immigration Law & Practice and also commenced a Masters in International Law & International Relations. Her parents moved from Pakistan 40 years ago, and she was born and brought up in the Hills Shire. She has been working in politics for more than a decade and has worked for numerous State and Federal Ministers as a policy, media, speech, and community engagement adviser. In 2012, Aisha was a candidate for the 2012 Local Government Elections for the Hills Shire Council.

Aisha says, “I have been working in politics for around a decade and I am proud to be nominated by the NSW Labor Party as the first female candidate of subcontinent origin for the NSW Parliament Upper House.

I am passionate about women’s issues and in particular advocating for more women to be active in their local communities and in civic and political life. Over the last year especially, I have organised a number of women’s events from an Iftar to raise money for Eid gifts for women and children victims of domestic violence, to arranging networking events for women to engage and empower each other on the basis of mutual interests and shared values”.


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Charishma Kaliyanda

Australian Labor Party Candidate for Holsworthy


Charishma  says she has a positive plan for Holsworthy, “Politics is often negative with too many personal attacks, so here is a positive plan for our area: Improve Infrastructure  ”“ Reduce the congestion along key roads such as Heathcote Road; Local jobs first  ”“ Labor will focus on creating jobs in NSW; Stand up for Education  ”“ Labor will properly fund schools and TAFE to create jobs where we live; Oppose the sell-off of electricity”“ Selling electricity will take $1 billion from the State’s annual budget and lead to increases in power bills and Fund our health system  ”“ Reduce waiting times and create world class health. outcomes.

If Charishma is elected she will be  the youngest state MP.

We wish all the candidates best and hope they work for the betterment of the newly arrived migrants and  their concerns which are  mainly transport, education and settlement as they can only afford to live in the outer suburbs of Sydney.

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