Labor Diversity Fellowship 2019

Labor Diversity Fellowship 2019

After a year of hard work, Poliversity is excited to announce a partnership with the Labor Academy to launch the Labor Diversity Fellowship 2019. Fourteen young people of culturally diverse backgrounds will join a year-long fellowship, where they will complete four modules, participate at roundtables, a project and mentorship. The fellowship is piloting in Victoria in 2019 with the aim to expand nationally in the future.

Showcasing 12 of the 14 fellows in the 2019 fellowship. Hovig Melkonian and Celia Tran are also joining the 2019 fellowship.

We are especially grateful to the Indian community in Victoria, Assyrian community in Victoria, Filipino community in Victoria, Chinese community in Victoria for the sponsorship and making this fellowship possible.

Launch of the Labor Diversity Fellowship in December 2018 with Andrew Leigh, Member for Fenner
Labor Diversity Fellowship steering committee with Anne Aly, Member for Cowan and Pierre Yang, Member for South Metropolitan Region Western Australia.
STATEMENT: Poliversity for Marriage Equality

STATEMENT: Poliversity for Marriage Equality

Poliversity is proud to stand with Australians from all backgrounds pushing for marriage equality in Australia.

Poliversity is vigorously opposed to the plebiscite and the proposed postal survey as both policies open the doors for further discrimination and hate speech. While we oppose the divisive and expensive postal survey, we encourage all Australians to enrol and send a strong message to end discrimination and inequality by voting yes for marriage equality.

Prolonging the issue of marriage equality and denying LGBTI Australians equal rights will have long term negative ramifications. Our experience working with Australians from multicultural and interfaith backgrounds have shown us the damaging effects of discrimination. Australia is a tolerant and inclusive country and there is no place for discrimination and hate speech.

Poliversity is particularly concerned for the health and wellbeing of LGBTI Australians from multicultural backgrounds. In addition to facing discrimination externally, multicultural LGBTI Australians are subject to added pressures from people within their own communities. Due to cultural and religious values, there are a number of multicultural LGBTI Australians that are fearful of coming out. Poliversity pledges to advocate for a greater focus and resources to support LGBTI Australians from multicultural backgrounds.

Poliversity condemns discrimination in all forms and will continue to work with the Australian Labor Party and the Rainbow Labor Network to fight for the equal rights of LGBTI Australians.

STATEMENT: ALP ‘Employ Australians First’ advertisement

STATEMENT: ALP ‘Employ Australians First’ advertisement

Poliversity notes that the Australian Labor Party (ALP) ‘Employ Australians First’ advertisement does not accurately reflect the diversity of the Australian workforce which the party itself embraces.

We have received feedback from members of multicultural communities who are concerned about the lack of diversity portrayed in the advertisement. Its clear Australians, regardless of background, expect more from the ALP in demonstrating inclusiveness.

Poliversity has received strong support from federal Labor caucus members, our Co-Patrons and federal Leader Bill Shorten for its platform committed to a more culturally diverse ALP and Australian politics in general.

Poliversity appreciates Bill Shorten for acknowledging the oversight so promptly and would like to thank the ALP for taking action in removing the advertisement.

Poliversity will be following up with the ALP National Secretariat to help ensure the diverse and inclusive views of multicultural Australia continue to be reflected in the work of the administrative wing of the party.

MEDIA RELEASE: Hey Mark Latham, stop your bigotry!

MEDIA RELEASE: Hey Mark Latham, stop your bigotry!

Mark Latham’s media stunt filming people in Western Sydney not being able to speak English to ‘prove’ multiculturalism isn’t working is disturbing.

Despite Mark Latham being a former leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), he sounds more like a spokesperson for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

Co-founder and Chair of Poliversity Wesa Chau said “If you ask me, his beliefs are better suited to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

“Poliversity is happy to chip in to pay for his membership, although even then he’s outdated in his anti-Asian racism stance by about twenty years.”

As a national partisan organisation that promotes multicultural representation and leadership within the ALP, Poliversity believes his views do not reflect the views of the labour movement.

“Targeting older Australians and recently arrived migrants with an ‘English test’ and whether they have any friends from an Asian background achieves nothing but cause division within a successful cohesive multicultural society”, said Ms Chau.

“The people he targeted were probably caught off-guard and left speechless rather than being unable to communicate in English.

“He is welcome to come and speak to my fellow Poliversity board members or myself rather than targeting Australians from multicultural backgrounds on the street.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Cabramatta and Fairfield because they had to endure Mark Latham’s brand of racism and bigotry.

“How are we supposed to have a cooperative cohesive society when we have people like Mark Latham roaming around?”

Our tips for Mark Latham:

  • If you want to use English language abilities to assess the success of multiculturalism, it’s better to start in law firms, accounting firms, startups and IT companies and talk to people from multicultural backgrounds.
  • If you’re looking for a political roof, join Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
  • Let the Australian public know the next community you’re preparing to target so community members can prepare their response to your bigotry and insults.


We promote culturally diverse leadership in the Australian Labor Party.

OPINION: Multiculturalism in Australia – we still have a long way

OPINION: Multiculturalism in Australia – we still have a long way

Original post on SBS by our co-founder Jieh-Yung Lo.

On 21 March, Australians from all backgrounds will be celebrating Harmony Day – an initiative developed by the federal government in 1999 to recognise and celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity.

To coincide with this important celebration, the Turnbull Government has launched a new Multicultural Statement this week entitled “Releasing Multicultural Australia: United, Strong, Successful.”

Malcolm Turnbull is calling on all Australians to unite under the shared values of ‘freedom, democracy, the rule of law and equality of opportunity. With words such as ‘integration’, ‘values’ and ‘security’, the Turnbull Government’s statement echoes views shared by the Howard Government where Peter Costello described multiculturalism as ‘mushy’ and Andrew Robb referring the ‘M’ word (multiculturalism) as a philosophy that put ‘allegiances to original culture ahead of national loyalty.’

As an Australian of Chinese heritage, I am concerned that the Turnbull Government’s Multicultural Statement is steering Australia back into the past rather than looking towards the future. I am disappointed that the Turnbull Government did not use this opportunity to develop a policy statement that would help multicultural Australia fulfil its incredible potential.

Yes, the Prime Minister is correct in saying that our cultural diversity is one of our greatest assets. About 28 per cent of Australians were born overseas with an additional 20 per cent having at least one parent born overseas.

Australians come from 300 ancestries and close to 20 per cent of Australians speak another language other than English at home.

The questions I would like to ask the Prime Minister and his government is – do our institutions reflect Australia’s cultural diversity make up? Is Australia’s cultural diversity represented within positions of senior leadership in our governments, parliaments and executive boardrooms? The short answers are – no.

According to the ‘Leading for Change‘ blueprint released by the Australian Human Rights Commission in July 2016, only 4.98 per cent of ASX 200 CEOs, 1.61 per cent of federal and state public service Secretaries and heads of department, and 0 per cent of federal Ministers and Assistant Ministers come from a non-European background.

Results from the blueprint demonstrate that senior leadership teams across Australian sectors fail to reflect Australia’s multicultural communities and workforce.

When it comes to direct representation, no place is more relevant than the Parliament of Australia. Research from the blueprint identified that 79 per cent of the 226 elected members in the Australian Parliament have an Anglo-Celtic background, 16 per cent have a European background and those from a non-European background make up less than four per cent of the total.

For many of Australia’s recent and new arrivals, they do not feel the Parliament of Australia is representative and reflective of our diverse society.

The research has also found that leadership within Australian institutions remain Anglo-Celtic and out of reach for Australians from multicultural and interfaith backgrounds.

Institutions such as businesses, corporations and government departments are simply not making use of our cultural diversity make up. What’s worse is that there are many leaders, policy and decision-makers whom do not recognise the value Australians from multicultural and interfaith backgrounds bring to the decision making table.

Australians from multicultural and interfaith backgrounds face many challenges and barriers including institutional racism in workplaces, discrimination and bias and the lack of cultural understanding from senior leaders and decision-makers.

Businesses, governments and parliaments need to do more to cultivate and promote inclusive leadership, provide opportunities for people from multicultural, culturally and linguistically diverse and interfaith backgrounds to serve in leadership roles, respond to bias and discrimination in the workplace; set up performance targets and introduce policies and measures that recognise the potential of cultural diversity.

Responding to these challenges requires our governments to show leadership and set a positive example.

In my experience working with multicultural communities, embracing cultural diversity brings financial and social capital.

Research from US-based global management consultant firm McKinsey has shown that US businesses with a multicultural workforce are 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their competitors.

In an increasingly globalised world and economy, having a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce that possesses knowledge and understanding of a range of different cultures and languages can give Australia and our businesses an edge over its competitors.

Having elected representatives from multicultural backgrounds serving in parliaments also increases the interest, engagement and participation of Australians from multicultural backgrounds in politics and our democratic processes.

I’ve witnessed this firsthand as a former local government councillor and Deputy Mayor of the City of Monash. My presence on the City of Monash encouraged the local Chinese and Asian-Australian community to engage and connect with the council’s policies and activities, with some community members telling me that it was the first time they made contact with their local council representative.

Rather than focusing on national security, violent extremism, counter-terrorism and border protection, I would’ve liked to see the policy statement focus more on the potential, aspirations, opportunities and strength of multiculturalism in Australia.

The Turnbull Government had an opportunity to shift the debate and discussion of multiculturalism in Australia by presenting a case to change the status quo and a call to arms for Australian institutions to embrace multiculturalism in their day-to-day operations.

The Prime Minister has reiterated time and time again that we are the most successful multicultural society in the World.

While there’s much for Australia to be proud of, we have merely scratched the surface of Australia’s multicultural and cultural diversity potential.

Jieh-Yung Lo is a member of the Australian-Chinese community, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and is co-founder of Poliversity, a “national partisan independent organisation affiliated with the ALP that promotes multicultural representation, leadership & engagement.”