On Monday 25th February, three members of the Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN), among other Sikh organisations, attended a fundraising dinner to support Alex Bhathal’s campaign for the Batman By-Election. In addition to Alex, the event hosted other key members of The Greens Political Party including, Richard Di Natale (Australian Senator and Leader of the Australian Greens) and Huong Truong (First Vietnamese Australian woman to sit in an Australian Parliament).
Ms Bhathal hopes to prevail in the Batman By-Election on 17th March, which was triggered by the resignation of the Labour MP David Feeney as a result of his dual citizenship.
Ms Bhathal a social worker in the electorate for over 30 years has high hopes of winning the By-Election, having lost the 2016 Federal Election, by less than 2,000 votes. The result was driven largely by the proportion of Liberal preferences going to Labor. This year, the Liberal Party will not be fielding a candidate, boosting Alex’s chances.
The event was an overwhelming success raising in excess of $10,000 in a matter of minutes and exceeding the pre-event target of $7,000. The event included speeches from numerous influential Sikh organisations; including Preet Toki, Team Lead of YSPN Melbourne who spoke about YSPN’s mission: to create the conditions for young Sikhs to succeed, and amplify their influence in the Australian Community, as well as its recent achievements.
Ms Bhathal has been a strong supporter of YSPN, and was keynote speaker at the YSPN Annual Summit in 2016 and at a recent Event in Melbourne in November 2017. A win for Ms Bhathal will be a boost for the Sikh community and supporters of the Australian Greens, becoming the first Sikh Australian to be elected to Federal Parliament, and second member of the Australian Greens, joining Adam Bandt from the neighboring seat of Melbourne in the House of Representatives.