A new Upper House MP in New South Wales has become the first politician to be sworn in to an Australian parliament on the Hindu religious text, the Bhagavad-gita.
Daniel Mookhey, 32, was chosen by the Labor party to fill the casual vacancy created by Steve Whan’s unsuccessful tilt at a Lower House seat in the March election.
Mr Mookhey was born in Blacktown to parents who emigrated from the north Indian state of Punjab.
He said he was nervous ahead of the historic swearing-in ceremony.
“It’s an incredible honour and I’m 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.”
Mr Mookhey said the Gita is one of the world’s great religious texts, along with the Bible, the Qur’an and the Torah.
“It was an important backdrop to my childhood growing up in western Sydney,” he said.
“I’m 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.”
Mr Mookhey said he hopes his time in the NSW Upper House is spent productively.
“I’ll 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.”
By state political reporter Sarah Gerathy and Cassandra Bedwell