Zubair Mian | Lack of Diversity Begins in Parliament
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Zubair Mian | Lack of Diversity Begins in Parliament

December 21, 2019

(gentle guitar intro music) – Why, looking at the number of people in the legal profession at
senior ranks, why do you think there’s not more people
of Asian background? – Frankly, there have been
people of Asian background and I’ll give you one example. I didn’t know and the first
Christmas dinner we had after we formed Asian
Australian Lawyers Association, we invited Justice Paul
Coghlan as our keynote speaker. And if you run into His
Honour Paul Coghlan, he’s retired now, you wouldn’t think he’s
got any Asian background, but he is part Asian, okay? There are some. The reason why there is,
it’s the same struggle as the gender diversity
took time to sink in. We don’t have enough members in parliament of the same background. We don’t have Asians in
the parliament either. I’m talking about the national parliament. And as I said earlier, we are new. I mean, don’t forget, I was lucky. Before I came to Australia,
my uncle said to me, “I hear you’re trying to go to Australia. Haven’t you heard about
white Australia policy?” I hadn’t, I was lucky I
hadn’t heard about it. I would have been discouraged,
but I still kept going. So thank you to Gough Whitlam. If he hadn’t ended the
white Australia policy I wouldn’t be here today.
So if you look back it’s not that long ago that
the first Asian migrants started coming to Australia. And we have had- through Asian Australian
Lawyers Association- we have had meetings with the attorney, the opposition attorney,
shadow attorney John Beshewton. We’ve met with the Chief Justice. We’ve met with the newly
appointed Chief Justice of the family court
who was previously also the Chief Justice of the
Common Circuit Court, and we are pushing. We are encouraging to give us
a chance for an appointment. We have a slightly
different system to U.K. In U.K. there’s a judicial
appointment’s commission. They appoint, here it’s very politicised. So it’s all political appointments. The attorney decides who gets appointed. Final decision is up to the attorney. And somehow it is biassed, as well. So when the liberal minds
come, and they will appoint liberal minded people on the bench. Labour is the same,
Labour will do the same. And therefore there is not much scope on why the thought of appointing
people who are different. And it’s also, people are comfortable with what they’ve got currently. When we meet with John Beshewton or the Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court, we say if we walk out now in William
Street or Burke Street or Collin Street and look around the population demographics have changed. And if we don’t appoint people from Asian backgrounds onto the bench, we are not representative. We Asians also come before the court may it be commercial
reasons, family law issues and to be able to understand we have to have, we must have people on the bench of that background. And hopefully if we keep chipping
and knocking on the doors, hopefully change will come. It will come in time. And we have the patience,
and we have the will, and we have the motivation
and we will continue. We are not going to give up. We’re not gonna go away. (upbeat outro music)

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