26-year-old Nepalese youth to battle against 61-year-old veteran of Australian politics

Ram Khatry I 16 April 2019: Nepalese youth Pramej Shrestha is poised to battle against a seasoned Australian politician who is a sitting member of the House of Representatives in the upcoming federal election.

The 26-year-old political novice is fighting against 61-year-old Linda Burney who was elected federal member for Barton in 2016. Prior to her being elected Labor MP, Ms Burney had been in the NSW parliament for 13 years. To potential campaign concern for Mr Shrestha, Ms Burney too has good number of “faithfuls” within the Nepalese diaspora in her electorate of Barton.

Mr Shrestha’s nomination for the seat of Barton is yet to be formally announced by the Liberal Party but knowledge of the nomination has gotten his community positively worked up. And that’s understandable, community leaders say, because the Sydney youth is the first member of the Nepalese Australian community to become a candidate in the Australian federal elections – that too endorsed by a ruling political party.

Pramej Shrestha - southasia.com.au
Pramej Shrestha with his wife Soniya Pradhan I Photo: Supplied

The only child to Nepal-born parents who are in the international education industry is known for his affable nature and engagement both within the Nepalese diaspora as well as in the wider Australian community.

Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Australia has said, whereas it does not favour any one particular political party because of its apolitical nature, the nomination of Mr Shrestha has been an exciting development for the fastest growing migrant community.

The spokesperson for the “institutional movement of all Nepali-origin people living in the country”, Dila Kharel, says the ruling political party’s trust in the young man has boosted the morale and confidence of his community members.

Mr Shrestha is well-known in the diaspora for his maturity, dynamic personality and extremely personable nature, NRNA Australia said in its statement released today.

“NRNA Australia will be no less enthusiastic in congratulating another Nepalese Australian should he or she be nominated by a different political party altogether,” the statement further reads.

The Nepalese diaspora in Australia has supporters of both the Liberal and Labor parties with leaders from both sides increasingly participating in community events in an obvious attempt to woo the Nepal-speaking voters. Sydney has the highest presence of Nepalese Australian with higher concentration in suburbs like Rockdale, Auburn and Granville.

Nepal is currently the third largest supplier of international students to Australia’s $32 billion export industry, following its northern neighbour China in the first place and southern neighbour India in the second. Majority of these international students complete their chosen “higher education” and opt to stay on in the country becoming a part of the Australian workforce.

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