Ram Khatry I 23 April 2019: Whether he wins or not, Pramej Shrestha is already a winner in the eyes of tens of thousands of Nepalese Australians living across the country.
The 26-year-old Liberal candidate for Barton has made history by becoming the first Nepalese Australian to fight for a seat in the House of Representatives of the Australian Federal Parliament.
“As part of the Morrison Liberal team, Pramej will support tax relief for families and small business, keeping our economy strong and securing your future,” the Liberal Party says in its website.
A picture of Mr Shrestha now appears in the same page as the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which in itself is a winner given the Nepalese diaspora in the country is comparatively a recent phenomenon. Hence, the excitement in the community the young candidate belongs to.
Members of the community believe that the nomination of Pramej Shrestha, popular as Pjay, heralds a new age in the history of Nepalese Australian community – it shows a growing “recognition” by the major political parties of the country.
“I am very pleased to hear the nomination of Pramej Shrestha. It is good to see that the Liberal Party has recognised his leadership ability and of course the political strength of the Nepalese community, especially in Barton constituency,” says Canberra-based Dr Krishna Hamal. The prominent member of the Australian Nepalese diaspora hopes that the nomination of Mr Shrestha will probably encourage many other people of Nepalese origin to engage in Australian politics.
“I am hoping sooner or later other political parties will follow the Liberal Party in nominating Australians of Nepalese origin for Australian Parliament. I would like to congratulate Mr Shrestha and wish him all the best for the forthcoming general election,” Dr Hamal further added.
Former president of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Australia and a founding member of the Nepalese Friends of Labor, Goba Katuwal, called the nomination “historic”.
Mr Katuwal, a resident of Western Sydney, welcomed the endorsement of Mr Shrestha “on behalf of the Nepalese Friends of Labor”.
“It would be the historic day for our community and we should be proud of the his candidacy I wish him all the best,” he added. (sic)
Who is Pramej?
Pramej Shrestha grew up in Sydney’s south attending Penshurst Public School, St George Christian School and Georges River College.
A Bachelor of Business from Australian Catholic University, Mr Shrestha showed his leadership skills at an early stage of his life. Be it acting as a leader of the Duke of Edinburgh program for Hurstville Library in 2012 or supporting local charities and community organisations including the Australian Red Cross, the son of Nepalese immigrants was a doer since his school days.
“He is a strong advocate for the advancement of young people as a founder of Sydney Motivation Club focusing on empowering young people. He has mentored high school students through Generation Entrepreneur and has undertaken youth leadership programs in Nepal. He has also been a Student Ambassador Team Leader at CPA Australia,” reads the short bio of Mr Shrestha on the website of Liberal Party.