The ‘proud migrant’ recently became the first Indian born MP in the Victorian Parliament
She came to Australia 20 years ago as a student. Today, Indian Australian politician Kaushaliya Virjibhai Vaghela has become the first Indian born MP in the Victorian Parliament. Vaghela, who joined the Labor Party as member of the Victorian Legislative Council earlier this year, was recently elected to represent Western Metropolitan Region.
“I’m a fanatic for freedom, fairness, feminism, food, fitness, and family,” said the newly elected member, who completed her bachelor in science in Ahmedabad and masters in Vadodra in India, before coming to Melbourne in 1998 to study in RMIT.
Vaghela calls herself a “proud migrant”. “Not a day goes by when I don’t recognise just how fortunate I am to live here,” she said in a recent interview.
A scientist by profession, Vaghela made health care and education the central issues of her campaign.
The political scene is not new to Vaghela who was an advisor to Minister of Multicultural Affairs Hon Robin Scott and acted as a bridge between the Hindu community and the department. She has also worked with several spiritual, cultural and other diaspora organizations in resolving their issues and getting government support.
Entering politics isn’t something she planned for, said Vaghela. “Being part of the advocacy group for the community has made me go on a political path. Working with a minister has given me an idea as to how Australian politics works,” she told reporters.
Apart from her stint as an advisor, Vaghela has also served as the President of the Victorian chapter of Subcontinental Friends of Labor (SCFOL), which is a conduit between the Labor Party and the members of the subcontinent communities. She was also secretary of the South Asian Public Affairs Council (SAPAC) Australia, a non-profit organisation that promotes the interests of the South Asian community.
She believes that Labor Party has what it would take to improve infrastructure and living conditions in the Western Metropolitan Region.
“We all know the western suburbs of Melbourne are booming and we all know that only Labor can be trusted to deliver the infrastructure and investment we need. Over the last four years, the Andrews Labor Government has built schools, hospitals and removed level crossings in the west,” said Vaghela explaining why she joined the party.