Growing momentum for multicultural candidate at Aston

Several MPs said Campbell was better suited for the Higgins seat in Melbourne’s inner-east, which Labor won in the 2022 general election.

Bayswater Liberal member Dr. Mary Wang, who is of mainland Chinese descent, is also encouraged to stand up, as is Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, who recently ran for the Liberal Party in the Box Hill state seat and is ethnic Chinese.

Longtime Liberal figure Emanuele Cicchiello is expected to stand and former State Rep. Cathrine Burnett-Wake weighs in a run.

But conservative forces are working against Burnett-Wake, who was ousted in the 2022 state election shortlist by a candidate with ties to a Pentecostal church for condemning “extremists in politics” in her farewell speech.

Several federal lawmakers and senior liberal figures are pushing Ranjana Srivastava, who worked for years as an oncologist at the electorate’s largest hospital, to run. She lives right outside the seat, but party sources said her working relationships could make her a credible candidate on the ground.

A Liberal federal MP, who asked not to be named in order to speak freely, said: “We only have one female member of the House of Commons [from Victoria]so we need to have a female candidate and ideally from a multicultural community.”


“This will be a good indication of whether the party has listened to the recommendations of the post-election review,” said a second federal deputy, “there is an appetite for a working woman.”

Labor plans to campaign for the by-election and increase their majority in the House of Commons to two seats. Party strategists believe Dutton is an unpopular figure in Victoria because previous inflammatory comments about African street crime have scared Melbourne residents to go out to dinner and criticism of the Chinese Communist Party, which some say has alienated ethnic Chinese-Australian voters became.

Labor MP Julian Hill, who sits next to Bruce, welcomed the fact that “Peter Dutton has overcome his fear of coming to Melbourne”.

“I wonder if he’ll be brave enough to go out to dinner? He would be most welcome to join my constituency just a few miles south of Aston.”


“I’m sure I could get him a crowd if he publicly apologized for shutting down the local immigration office, leaving 1million visa and citizenship applications in arrears, and for playing racial politics in general and demonizing Victorians. “

The timing of the by-election will be determined by Speaker of the House Milton Dick in consultation with the Australian Electoral Commission. Since at least 33 days are required before voting, March 25 is probably the earliest possible date. However, since Good Friday is on April 7th followed by the school holidays, the poll might not take place until April 29th.

The Victorian Liberal Executive Committee, which has been torn by factional strife for years, is at odds over whether to decide on the candidate or leave it to Aston members to decide. An early by-election date would make a central committee decision more likely.

Labor MPs privately discuss their chances for the seat, noting that no government has won a seat in a by-election from an opposition for more than a century.

“The math says it’s just not our seat,” said a Labor MP. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t try red hot.”

Kos Samaras, RedBridge director and former Labor Party activist, said there was “strong evidence” the coalition still had a serious problem that would convince the Chinese community to vote for it, particularly in Victoria.

“Dutton will remind everyone [former prime minister Scott] Morrison, as he did not have enough time to remove some of the baggage of that previous administration and the baggage he created for himself,” he said. Growing momentum for multicultural candidate at Aston

Callan Tansill

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