Thanks for finding your way to this page, which I’ve put up for people voting in the Victorian Greens’ preselection for our lead Senate candidate in the 2013 federal election.
I’m a social worker with longstanding involvement in social justice and human rights advocacy, and environmental activism. I live in Preston, in a street with a mixture of private and public housing properties and I’m the mother of two young sons, who are going into Prep and Grade 6 this year, at one of our excellent local primary schools.
I come from a mixed-race background, the daughter of an Indian migrant father and a mother from Geelong.
When I was eight, my family circumstances changed with the final lifting of the White Australia restrictions on non-European citizenship. I vividly remember my father rushing off to the local Civic Centre in his best turban, to become an Australian citizen. For my parents, young sisters and me, this meant we could settle down as a family, with all of us accepted as Australians, rather than having to travel around the country under the sponsorship of Dad’s senior clinicians.
This childhood experience embedded in me an understanding of the role that governments and more broadly, politics, can play in shaping people’s lives.
Since then, I’ve been actively interested in politics, and I’ve been involved in electoral politics and activism since my teens.
As a young woman, I was involved in the ALP, and as an active member of Melbourne University’s ALP Club, I served, with two years in each concurrent position, as the Deputy Chairperson of the Melbourne University Union Board of Management and the Chairperson of the University Assembly. However, I severed my ties with Labor in late 1985 over uranium and my disenchantment with the undemocratic political culture of the party.
After 15 years largely outside electoral politics, but still actively involved in the peace and anti-uranium movement and in Friends of the Earth, I joined the Greens in 2001. The Tampa incident had reminded me of my early life lesson that in some cases, electoral politics is the only route to securing justice and human rights.
I’ve been actively and happily involved in the Greens ever since and have served at all levels of the party, from my local Darebin branch to my current role as International Co-Secretary with Bob Hale. My CV is available here, covering my roles in the Greens and my professional life and qualifications.
I’m a qualified social worker with 25 years in the social welfare sector, and my professional experience includes clinical practice with young people, community development, research, management, program and policy development. I’ve also taught social work, environmental science and social science students at RMIT University.
Earlier in my career, I worked extensively in women’s services, including with the Women’s Domestic Violence Service of Victoria, and was a peak body representative for the Victorian Women’s and Domestic Violence Services of Victoria. I’ve also worked in local government, and in adolescent child protection and in the mid 90s, managed Youth Services programs for the newly amalgamated City of Yarra.
I’m currently completing a PhD with Curtin University’s Centre for Human Rights Education, on how members of the general public are experiencing and perceiving climate change.
In 2011, I worked as National Climate Campaigner with the Australian Greens and have previously been involved with FOE’s Climate Justice campaign; as a migration and refugee rights advocate, I have a particular interest in climate-related migration.
I’ve been visiting immigration detention centres for over 10 years and worked with as Project Officer with the People’s Inquiry into Detention in 2006. I’m also actively involved in Australia’s now rapidly growing Indian community.