The Labor Party has announced the creation of a new caucus committee on multicultural affairs to help shape the party’s policies that affect culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians.

The committee will be chaired by the first Muslim female to be elected to federal parliament, Labor’s Dr Anne Aly.

The decision has been welcomed by the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) Chairperson Mary Patetsos, who says it is a good step forward.

“There is no doubt that CALD communities are under-represented in the Federal Parliament, and in all parliaments across Australia, particularly when you consider that almost one in three Australians were born overseas,” Ms Patetsos said.

“So we welcome Labor’s announcement that it will create a committee within its caucus to focus on multicultural affairs and issues that affect CALD Australians.”

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News of the new committee follows the Queensland government’s announcement that it will be hosting a ministerial forum on multicultural affairs in 2020, with all relevant ministers from across Australia invited to attend.

“There are a range of issues affecting CALD Australians that require attention at a national level, including accessibility for CALD Australians to health and aged care services, settlement of migrants and strategies to combat racism,” Ms Patetsos said.

“A commitment like this is a positive step in the right direction towards greater political representation and engagement with Australians from multicultural backgrounds.

“What we also need to see from all major parties is more of a commitment to putting forward candidates from diverse backgrounds at state and federal elections, so that our parliament better reflects the broad diversity of Australian society.”

The committee is expected to begin public consultations as of next week.

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