55 year-old Lucy Gichuhi, a Kenyan-born lawyer has been elected to fill the Family First Party seat in the Australian Federal Parliament. Gichuhi fills the South Australian senate seat, which fell vacant after the departure of former Family First senator Bob Day.
The High Court nullified Day’s election based on special interests, which was against the Australian constitution.
Gichuhi was the Family First Party second candidate, and has therefore been declared the bonafide winner of the seat. She becomes the first person of African descent to be elected to Federal Parliament.
In a statement quoted by ABC after she was declared the winner, Gichuhi said, “I am honoured and grateful for this opportunity to serve Australia. I see it as an opportunity to give back to this great nation.”
However, Gichuhi faced a legal tussle over her eligibility to sit in the senate because of concerns over her nationality.
The High Court rejected Labor’s case challenging senator Gichuhi’s eligibility. According to Australian law, dual citizenship holders are barred from serving in the Australian Parliament. However, the Kenyan High Commissioner in Australia said Gichuhi automatically lost her citizenship when she became an Australian citizen, inline with the Kenyan Constitution.
Gichuhi travelled to Australia in 1999 with her husband William, and their three children after being awarded a permanent resident visa, and became a citizen of Australia two years later (2001).
Gichuhi’s political career
After completing her law degree, Gichuhi joined the Australian Family First Party, a Christian party, where she has been one of the active politicians championing the ideals of her party.
The Family First Party ideals take a hard line stance on a number of issues. It rejects mercy killing, opposes the use of surrogate mothers, disapproves the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research, and supports the prosecution of not only those who sell sex but those who buy it.
The party also holds that the theories about carbon emissions are a fallacy, and believes alcohol advertisements should be banned from all mass media channels, and sporting apparel.
Her 2016 campaign slogan and message to the Australian. Source @LucyGichuhi2016/twitter
A humble beginning
Born in 1963 in Nyeri County, central Kenya, and brought up in a poor family, Gichuri used to walk barefoot to school.
At home she did domestic chores such as milking cows, cooking, washing and gathering firewood in the forest. She still passed her exams, and joined the University of Nairobi to pursue a degree in financial accounting before relocating to Australia with her family in 1999.