Samantha Ratnam re-elected

Melbourne, November 26: As Victorians went to polls on Saturday, many of our own, 51 to be precise, were making history participating in those polls declaring their resolve to take control of how our state should be run. They thought it is time to have their ‘say’ in the manner our fate is governed by the state government. And the good news is – two of our own – Dr Ali Khan (of Transport Matters Party or TMP) and Kaushaliya Virjibhai Vaghela (of the Australian Labor party) have been – at this stage of the counting, provisionally elected. Both of them will be taking a seat in the Legislative Assembly – upper house in the state parliament on spring street.

Dr Ali Khan has been provisionally elected for the upper house berth (1 of 5) for South-Eastern Metro region. It was such a bloodbath for the Liberals on Saturday, November 24 that the long-standing Liberal party stalwart of over two decades, Ms Inga Peulich’s position as member for the same South-Eastern Metro region seems to be in serious doubt. Unless pre-polls and postals change the picture dramatically, it seems, Dr Ali Khan has usurped Ms Peulich’s berth in the upper house. According to the latest count of 46.22% votes after distribution of preferences, Dr Ali Khan has managed to secure 49,994 votes for a quota of 37,009 votes for a berth in the house. The current count (also after distribution of preferences) for the second Liberal berth in the house (Ms Peulich), according to the ABC website, stands at 24,022.

Dr Ali Khan, is a former two times Liberal party candidate for the federal seat of Calwell. At the last state election in 2014, he was the Liberal candidate as number for the same upper house region of South-Eastern Metro behind Inga Peulich who was sitting at position 2.

Ms Inga Peulich’s loss (if confirmed after counting is complete) will be felt immensely by the community as she has worked very closely with various community organizations for more than two decades.

The second successful candidate Kaushaliya V Vaghela, who was a Labor party candidate (positioned at number 3) for the upper house region of Western Metropolitan electorate, has managed to secure – after distribution of preferences – 47,651 votes for a quota of 33450 votes for a berth in the house.  These figures are based on 39.11% of total votes for the regions counted.

The only other member of the upper house (of Indian sub-continent descent) will be the re-elected MLC Samantha Ratnam, who it seems will be the lone voice this time.

Other sitting member of the upper house who lost his berth, again based on 44.77% of the votes counted, is Craig Ondarchie. He was a Liberal candidate for the electorate of Northern Metropolitan Region with number one position on the ticket.

Jude Pereira (of Sri Lankan descent) was the first Victorian of Indian sub-continent to enter the Victorian parliament for the lower house seat of Cranbourne. He retired this election. In the parliament elected last Saturday, the three proud candidates of Indian sub-continent, Dr Ali Khan (a Pakistani Victorian), Kaushaliya Vaghela (of Indian descent) and Samantha Ratnam (of Sri Lankan descent) will be battling it out for the betterment of all Victorians!

by Nidhi Mehta with DM

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