Punjabi-origin lawmaker takes oath on the Gita in Australia

  • PTI, None, Melbourne
  • Updated: May 13, 2015 08:57 IST

Indian-origin Daniel Mookhey on Tuesday became the first politician in Australia to be sworn in on the Gita when he took oath in New South Wales Parliament.

Mookhey, 32, was elected by the Labor to replace Steve Whan in the New South Wales Upper House, making him the state's first politician of Indian background.

"It is an incredible honour and I am humbled to be the first Australian politician to take his oath of allegiance on the Gita," he said.

"My story is only possible because Australia is so open and so welcoming to the contributions of people like my parents and I'm thinking a lot about them today as I take my oath," he said, adding the Gita is one of the world's great religious texts, along with the Bible, the Quran and the Torah.

"It was an important backdrop to my childhood growing up in western Sydney. I am really proud to sort of be using it
today as a mark of respect to the people that have helped me get to where I've gotten today, and I'm really very pleased
and humbled by the opportunity," he said.

Mookhey said he hopes his time in the NSW Upper House is spent productively.

"I will certainly be a very loud voice for a much more modern state and much more modern city in which everyone is able to move around and spend time at work and with their family and not consumed with the sort of frustrations you have in urban cities like Sydney," he said.

"That's really the issue closest to my heart and how I get to use this position that I've been so lucky and fortunate to get," he was quoted as saying by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mookhey's parents had migrated from Punjab to Australia in 1973. Born in Blacktown suburb, Mookhey holds three university degrees and currently works as a consultant to unions, charities and community groups.

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