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‘This is embarrassing’: Report calls for pre-selection targets to boost number of non-European federal MPs

Article image for ‘This is embarrassing’: Report calls for pre-selection targets to boost number of non-European federal MPs

Australia’s Federal Parliament is more culturally homogeneous than its foreign counterparts, a new report has revealed.

According to the report, published by think tank China Matters, Australia trails behind other English-speaking democracies including Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom when it comes to cultural diversity in Federal Parliament.

Just four per cent of federal MPs in Australia are from non-European backgrounds, compared with 15 per cent in Canada.

In the report, author and research fellow at Per Capital Australia, Osmond Chiu, labelled the current situation “embarrassing”.

“While we are all Australians every Australian has a different background, a different lived experience that shapes how you see the world,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

Mr Chiu said he doesn’t advocate for quotas, but targets are different.

“What I’m suggesting is you have a broad aspirational goal,” he said.

“Rather than saying you must have 20 per cent, what I’m suggesting is that you freeze pre-selection processes if parties don’t actively try to get diverse candidates to run for pre-selection.

“It’s about creating those incentives to actually go out and seek good candidates from diverse backgrounds.”

A more culturally diverse Federal Parliament would mean better outcomes for Australians, according to Mr Chiu.

“Every Australian has a different background, a different lived experience that shapes how you see the world,” he said.

“If we want the best outcomes for Australia I actually think that in a national forum, like the Parliament, it’s really important to have diverse experiences and diverse views so we can actually get the best outcomes for the country.

“Someone from a different cultural background might look at a policy issue and provide a perspective that someone hasn’t thought of before.”

Press PLAY below for more.

Image: Bloomberg / Getty

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