Australian born of Indian descent Zaneta Mascarenhas makes history

By Our Reporter
Anthony Albanese with Zaneta // Pic source @CGIPerth

For the Indian diaspora in Australia, the name Zaneta Mascarenhas now rings in pride and awe. She has just become the first Goan-origin person to be elected to the lower House of Representatives. And also the first woman to win the Federal seat of Swan in the electorate’s 101-year history, one of several Liberal seats to fall in Western Australia this election.

Mascarenhas defeated Liberal opponent Kristy McSweeney.

A jubilant Mascarenhas after the win said, “It’s a pretty exciting moment… The people of Swan have made me the first female to be elected as a representative. We believed in a better future.” Her top priorities are climate change and corruption.

Mascarenhas’s parents migrated to Australia in the late 1970s and and settled in Kambalda—a nickel mining town where her father was a fitter and mum the kindy cleaner. In her qualification checklist, she had written that her “Parents and grandparents were born in Goa, which was a Portuguese colony at the time. This meant that they were likely Portuguese citizens at birth. The Indian Citizenship Act does not allow dual citizenship and my parents became Australian citizens in 1979, as such they lost their Indian citizenship when they became Australian citizens.”

When she was 18, Mascarenhas moved to Perth to study science and engineering at Curtin University and since then, in her 15 year career as an engineer, she has worked in dozens of sites across regional WA and Victoria.

For the past eight years, she has been living in in East Victoria Park with her husband and two children, Lincoln and Felicity.

Congratulations are pouring in for Zaneta heading to the House of Representatives.

Rest assured, the 47th Parliament of Australia has some diverse faces.

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