Amid Victoria’s stage-four lockdown, Victorian council elections took place, and the city of Yarra has now seen a candidate make history, as well as a majority vote for the Greens for the first time in Australian history. 

After voters handed a majority to the Victorian Greens and awarded a socialist with the strongest popular vote, Yarra Council could become Australia’s “most left-wing local government” (Eddie 2020). Every Green Party candidate was elected in Yarra, and will now occupy “five of the nine councillor positions” (Eddie 2020). The Victorian Greens have obtained a record of 36 candidates around the state, with acting leader Ellen Sandell saying the Green Party has really “resonated with voters.” Greens councillor Amanda Stone will be joined by new Greens councillors Anab Mohamud, Edward Crossland, Sophie Wade and Gabrielle de Vietri.

One of the newly-elected councillors for Yarra City Council, Anab Mohamud, has become the first Sub-Saharan African to ever be elected in Victorian local government history. 

Having fled Somali’s civil war in the 1990s with her parents, suffered homelessness as a teenager, and raised her daughter as a single parent, Anab Mohamud told The Feed that she has also faced the common struggle that young people from African backgrounds experience: “feeling we are outsiders.”  

Anab Mohamud moved to Australia as a refugee 20 years ago, as the eldest in a family of nine and a single parent to her seven-year-old daughter. Now, she works as a Community Liaison Officer at Fitzroy Primary School, providing support to a diverse school community. 

Deeply involved in her community, Anab Mohamud has helped make newly-arrived migrants feel welcome and has provided them with the means to “integrate successfully into [their] community.” More recently, she has assisted struggling migrants gain access to essential services, such as food banks, financial help, homework clubs, and the internet.

Anab Mohamud feels a “strong connection to Greens values”, and her experience with public housing has provided her with strong insight into the issues that multicultural communities face in the city of Yarra. 

“As a public housing resident, I have firsthand experience of the struggles our community faces, the feeling of neglect, disenfranchisement and voicelessness.” 

Developing strong community relationships, according to Anab Mohamud, is the cornerstone of everything she does, and will do, as a city councillor. With her new position, she will bring “valuable knowledge and experience” to Yarra Council, broadening the representation of her community.

In an interview with The Feed, Anab Mohamud stated: “I hope that in the next few years, I see a lot of people of colour [running] because they talk about diversity and inclusion everywhere, but when my daughter looks at a meeting in the parliament, she doesn’t see a lot of representation of people that represent who she is.”

Through her election victory and actions as a city councillor, Anab aspires to pave the way for a brighter future for her daughter, hoping that she will be confident to “voice her opinions and follow her ambitions.” 

Sources:

“Anab Mohamud.” Australian Greens Victoria, 22 Nov. 2020, greens.org.au/vic/person/anab-mohamud. 

Eddie, Rachel. “Australia’s First Greens-Dominated Council Elected in Yarra.” The Age, The Age, 6 Nov. 2020

Yussuf, Ahmed. “In Another Election with Mail-in Ballots, This Woman Has Made History in Victoria.” The Feed, 11 Nov. 2020

Margaret Saville

Margaret Saville studies psychology and political science at McGill University in Montreal, and would like to pursue political journalism. She was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Nelson, British Columbia. Her passions include environmentalism, literature and writing, and down-hill skiing. Margaret is committed to addressing social issues such as the climate change crisis, racial and gender inequality, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ+ rights, and advocating for mental health awareness.

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