Compare the pair: which parliament has reflected its population?

by Charlie Lewis
The list of those vying to become UK prime minister has highlighted the multicultural diversity of its applicants. How does Australia compare?

The list of those vying to become UK prime minister has highlighted the multicultural diversity of its applicants. How does Australia compare?

A selection of Australia's diverse political leadership (Images: AAP/Supplied)
A selection of Australia’s diverse political leadership contenders (Images: AAP/Supplied)

Here are the names of the contenders to take over from disgraced caretaker UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Ben Wallace, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Liz Truss, Dominic Raab, Penny Mordaunt, Nadhim Zahawi, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Rehman Chishti.

Here are some of the contenders for leadership of the major parties in Australia during the various spills of the past decade and a bit: Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese, Bill Shorten, Peter Dutton, Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, John Howard.

Put it this way: when it comes to contenders for leadership, the British Conservative Party has managed, in one sitting, to have three candidates of Indian heritage. The major parties of Australia have, collectively, had two women run for the top job in more than 10 years. Oh, and there’s Albanese’s Italian heritage.

Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Suella Braverman, Nadhim Zahawi, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss (Images: Supplied)
Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Suella Braverman, Nadhim Zahawi, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss (Images: Supplied)

Of course it doesn’t follow that a more diverse parliament necessarily results in progressive or good policy — Badenoch and Braverman have both been critical of the UK’s net-zero targets, and mostly everyone in the mix so far is pushing for tax cuts and keeping the Tories’ inhumane “Rwanda plan” towards refugees.

But it’s yet another sign of the ongoing (if slowly improving — the current Parliament is our most diverse) failure of Australian politics to match the breakdown of Australian society.