Nelson Mandela said “It always seems impossible until it's done”.
I have always stood for what is right, even when unpopular to do so. I have stood on the front-lines with the Greens for over two decades as a grassroots activist on issues that many thought were impossible to achieve. I believe we are at the cusp of real change including real action on climate change, the establishment of broad-based corruption commission and raising the rate amongst many other issues of importance. I proudly stand with you in your commitment to transform our nation.
From a profound family history that galvanised my entry into politics to twenty-three years of active engagement in the Greens, I have developed a wide range of skills and a strong knowledge base, while demonstrating consistent, effective leadership.
Over the past two decades, I have campaigned across a range of issues including environment, animal rights, refugees, LGBTI rights, and climate change. During this time, I have served as State Co-Convenor, Victorian Campaign Co-Convenor and other roles. I founded the first LGBTI group in the Victorian Greens in 1997 and organised all Greens contingents for Pride March for well over a decade. More recently, I have been organising the Greens’ presence at World Vegan Day and other animal rights causes.
As a member of the LGBTIQ community, an immigrant, and a person of colour, I have long valued our party’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. However, our federal party room needs to be more representative of our vibrant and diverse society. As your Senator, I will bring passion, patience, a collaborative style, and much-needed diversity and perspective to our party room.
What shaped my politics
I was born in Sri Lanka and lived through the horror of ethnic violence and war. As a 9 year old, I had to come to grips with the hatred that led to the murder of innocent people. I watched my mother stand in front of a mob to stop them breaking into a neighbour’s house where a family was sheltering. Only later did I learn that the smoke I was smelling came from burning bodies just up the street where we used to play. The vision of my mother standing in front of a mob to stop them is a most powerful memory.
My beliefs and politics are shaped by these early experiences. They are the wellspring of my endless energy to campaign year after year for a better world. For the past 23 years, I have chosen to work for that better world through activism with the Greens.
A long history of activism and campaigns.
My involvement in politics began at an early age and led to my election as a President of the Student Union at La Trobe Bendigo in 1995. In 1996, I stopped volunteering for the Labor Party and joined the Greens who were polling just 1.1%. In 1998, I stood as the Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports. I have since stood for Prahran in 2002 (recording an 11% swing), and for Caulfield in the last state election.
My activism includes campaigning for a drug injecting room as far back as 1999 and campaigning for safe houses for street sex workers – controversial but fundamental issues of justice that, at times, attracted an extremely negative public reaction. But I have always tried to stand up for what is right.
In 2001, I was National Campaign Coordinator during the infamous Tampa election. I was also the Victorian Campaign Coordinator in 2007 when Richard Di Natale stood for the Senate for the first time. It would be such an honour to succeed him!
Perhaps my most fulfilling political moment came in 2014 when I served as Campaign Manager for the Prahran campaign. I personally fundraised over $42k to ensure we made history by winning our first ever seat from the conservatives. I have since advised campaigns in Ballina (NSW) and Maiwar (QLD), both Greens wins from conservative parties.
There are many fine candidates in this preselection but there is none with a comparable combination of:
- history of activism in the party at every level
- standing up for what matters on a wide range of issues, even when it was unpopular to do so
- leading ground-breaking and victorious electoral campaigns
- would bring the perspective of a member of the LGBTIQ community, an immigrant, an animal rights activist, and person of colour to the party room.
A strong Greens party is essential to the future of Australia. That has been my passion and my commitment for over two decades. I would be honoured to bring my personal dynamism and wealth of experience to the federal parliament.
I look forward to hearing from you if you have questions and I ask for your support.
Are you a member?
This is your chance to get involved in choosing our next Senator.
Come along to one of our online "Meet the Candidate" events and ask Dinesh about the issues that matter to you:
Saturday 30th May
(Regional & Rural Victoria Session)
or join the online discussion on the Senate Preselection Forum on Greenhouse: