Eden Foster’s hard-won victory: a symbol of diversity and determination in Mulgrave

By Maria Irene
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The journey of a working-class girl from Noble Park to Spring Street has not been an easy one: Julian Hill, Federal MP, Bruce. Photo courtesy: X

Eden Foster’s recent triumph in the Mulgrave by-election, while not a landslide, still marks a significant moment in the political landscape of Australia. Her win, securing 56.2% of the votes amidst a considerable swing, represents more than just a numerical victory; it is a testament to her resilience, deep community ties, and the trust she has earned from her constituents.

Foster’s journey to this point has been a narrative of overcoming odds. Raised in the suburbs of Springvale and Noble Park by a single mother, her upbringing was steeped in the values of hard work and perseverance. Julian Hill, the federal member for Bruce, encapsulated this sentiment, stating, “The journey of a working-class girl from Noble Park to Spring Street has not been an easy one.” He highlighted the pride her mother, Patsy, born in India and raising Eden as a single parent in South-East Melbourne, must feel.

As a clinical psychologist, Foster’s professional background has significantly influenced her approach to politics. Known for embodying virtues such as justice, equality, and compassion, Foster has been able to translate these into her political ethos. Her commitment to these values is not just theoretical but is deeply rooted in her own life experiences and cultural background.

Foster’s dedication to her local community has been a hallmark of her political career. This commitment, coupled with her ability to navigate the complexities of her Australian and Indian heritage, has been central to her appeal as a politician. She skilfully merges these identities, ensuring that her approach to governance and policy-making is inclusive and representative of the multicultural constituency she serves.

This victory in the by-election, despite being hard-won, is crucial in understanding Foster’s impact on the political scene. Her ability to retain the seat for the Labor Party amidst changing political currents showcases her skill as a political navigator. The significant swing against the party and the closer margins of this election reflect the evolving political landscape in Mulgrave and the broader Australian context.

Foster’s win also highlights the cultural impact of her Indian heritage on her political approach. Her background has shaped her perspectives on inclusivity and values, making her a relatable figure for a diverse electorate. Her devotion to justice and equality, influenced by her upbringing and cultural roots, resonates strongly with her constituents.

In the diverse electorate of Mulgrave, the presence of a considerable number of residents with an overseas heritage plays a significant role in shaping the political and cultural landscape. According to the 2021 Census, 20.5% of residents have both parents born overseas, while 6.3% and 5.9% have only their father and mother born overseas, respectively. Furthermore, the Indian community, though representing a modest 0.7% of the population, is part of a broader South Asian demographic that extends beyond those born in India. This multicultural backdrop likely influenced Eden Foster’s campaign, resonating with her own experiences and connecting with an electorate that mirrors her diverse heritage.

The sentiment towards Daniel Andrews, former Premier of Victoria, has played a complex role in shaping the political landscape, including the recent swing against the Labor Party. Andrews, known for his socially progressive yet fiscally conservative approach, has been both praised and criticized for his leadership style. His legacy includes significant infrastructure investments and population growth management, but also controversies around his governance style, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics have pointed out issues such as increased state debt, lack of transparency, and a perceived neglect of social policy fields. These factors have contributed to a mixed public perception and likely influenced voter sentiment, resulting in swings against the Labor Party in recent elections.

Eden Foster’s success in the Mulgrave by-election is not just a political achievement; it is a reflection of her ability to bridge cultural gaps and resonate with a diverse electorate. Her story is one of determination and commitment, serving as an inspiration for many in the Indian diaspora and beyond. Her victory is a reminder of the changing face of Australian politics, where diversity and a strong connection to community values are increasingly crucial to success.


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Maria Irene
As a dedicated journalist at The Indian Sun, I explore an array of subjects from education and real estate to macroeconomics and finance. My work deep dives into the Australia-India relationship, identifying potential collaboration opportunities. Besides journalism, I create digestible content for a financial platform, making complex economic theories comprehensible. I believe journalism should not only report events but create an impact by highlighting crucial issues and fostering discussions. Committed to enhancing public dialogue on global matters, I ensure my readers stay not just informed, but actively engaged, through diverse platforms, ready to participate in these critical conversations.

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