Tú Lê on Cultural Diversity, Social Justice, Politics, Identity, and Australia

Tú Lê is a young lawyer, community worker, and political advocate. Tú recently came to national and international prominence, with articles recently published in The New York Times, in the wake of the Australian Labor Party’s decision to nominate the former Premier of NSW and current federal Senator Kristina Keneally for preselection in the Western Sydney electorate of Fowler, ahead of Tú as the locally preferred candidate. The backroom political decision sparked a national conversation about cultural diversity within our representative institutions, multiculturalism in Australia, the disconnect of the political class from everyday people, and cultural and socio-economic barriers to participation in civic and economic life.

In this podcast, Nick and Tú discuss:

  • Tú's family journey as refugees from Vietnam to Australia in the wake of the Vietnam War, her early life in Adelaide and Western Sydney, and the importance of her Buddhist faith and community

  • Tú’s current work as a lawyer and coordinator at the Marrickville Legal Centre, working across migration, employment, and criminal law

  • Tú’s experience nominating for Labor Party preselection in the electorate of Fowler, and the controversy that emerged after Labor’s national executive parachuted Senator Kristina Keneally into the seat

  • The importance of cultural diversity in our representative institutions, where a quarter of the population is non-white and minority groups constitute six percent of the federal parliament

  • “The Bamboo ceiling” in the Australian workforce and across society more generally

  • Australian identity, what it means to be an “Aussie”, and how we can adopt more inclusive understandings of national identity and history

  • The electorate of Fowler and Western Sydney more broadly, and what these communities represent and reflect about modern Australia

  • Some of the political issues Tú would prioritise in Parliament, including a constitutionally-entrenched “voice to Parliament” for First Nations Peoples, climate action, and reforming Australian immigration policy

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