Indian origin Pallavi Sinha in race for the Senate after Marise Payne announces retirement

Ms Payne was first appointed to the Senate in 1997 and has been Australia's longest serving female Senator.

Former Foreign Minister Marisa Payne has announced that she will resign from the Senate on 30th September after a long innings in politics.

She was also the Minister for Women in the Scott Morrison government. Ms Payne was first appointed to the Senate in 1997 and has been Australia’s longest serving female Senator.

Marise Payne announced her resignation today after 26 years in the Senate. In her statement, she wrote that “to have become Australia’s longest serving female senator in history, is something of which I am very proud.” She was one of the Liberal party’s most senior women, and held senior ministerial portfolios in the Coalition Government between 2013 to 2022. She was the country’s first female Minister for Defence.

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Image source: Twitter.

All eyes wil now be on who will be appointed to the Senate from the Liberal party after her departure.

It is understood that Indian origin Liberal politician Pallavi Sinha will throw her hat in the ring for the position. Currently there is not a single person of Indian origin from the Liberal party in the Federal Parliament. The ruling Labour Government has two Indian-origin MPs.

Pallavi is a multi-award winning Lawyer and Notary Public and was selected in the prestigious AFR and Westpac 100 Women of Influence. She is Principal of Lawyers with Solutions and is also actively involved in advocacy work in areas such as gender, social cohesion, education and small business.

Pallavi, who has been a long time member of the Liberal party, was given number 12 spot in the NSW Parliament Upper House elections in 2019. She managed to get the second highest personal votes in the Liberal party in the Upper House elections at that spot.

Pallavi has over 20 years experience in senior executive and leadership positions and is Co-Chair Liberal Party Friends of India. She has previously been Vice-President of AIBC (Australia India Business Council) and has experience in developing relationships with partners in the Indo-Pacific especially India (Australia and India are also members of the QUAD). She also has significant experience in domestic and family violence advocacy. She is an Appointed Supporter of the Joint Federal and State Government campaign to stop Domestic or family violence (DV).

Pallavi is also a well known speaker and commentator and was the first Indian Australian woman to be invited to join Saxton Speakers Bureau. She was also among those from the Hindu community in NSW who contributed to legislative reform that protected the rights of Hindus to display the sacred Swastika. 

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Pallavi Sina

Given Pallavi’s track record, many in the Indian diaspora will be looking forward to this race

The Liberal party suffered a hattrick of losses when it was voted out of power in the NSW elections held earlier this year.

There is speculation that allegedly Pallavi was denied an opportunity to nominate herself for the NSW Upper House in the same election.

Currently Liberals are in power only in Tasmania.

The party’s own review of the 2022 Federal election stated “To successfully win seats, the Party must reflect modern Australia. It is therefore important the Party, as a priority, has a greater gender and ethnic diversity in pre-selection candidates”.

Pallavi Sinha

People of Indian origin account for more than 3% of Australia’s population and Indians are among the largest and fastest growing migrant communities in Australia.

Only time will tell if the Liberal party, after successive election losses, will decide to pick its first ever Indian origin Federal Senator.

The two other names making the rounds for the race are of Warren Munidine and Andrew Constance.

Warren Munidine is a former politician. He was appointed chairperson of the Indigenous Advisory Council in 2013 by the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott (The council was dissolved in 2017 by then PM Malcolm Turnbull).

Andrew Constance is also a retired politician who was NSW Minister for Transport and Roads in the second Glady’s Berejiklian Ministry.

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