Senator Lucy Gichuhi on Wednesday delivered her first speech in the Australian Senate; talking about her childhood in Kenya, her migration to Australia and her philosophical views on welfare and work.
Ms. Gichuhi was honored by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Labor’s Mark Dreyfus who visited the chamber purposely for her.
Lucy became the first African native Senator in Australia after beating Bob Day in April.
All members of the Senate were present in the chamber given Lucy’s key role on the crossbench.
According to some comments from some of the present members, Ms. Gichuhi’s speech was long but very interesting. She talked of her time with her grandmother in her hut with goats and chickens under one roof.
”There were so much laughter and stories about anything and everything, including the Mau Mau uprising. She told me the only part of a woman should use to make money is her brains.”
She narrated her family struggles, talking about the times when she and her husband who is an accountant were jobless. She said although times were hard, she was never tempted to get welfare because she didn’t believe in getting the money she had not earned.
”I could choose to be a victim and receive a hand out for a long time, or I could find a job and learn how to balance work and family life,” Lucy said.
Lucy talked about her experience in cultural differences when she relocated to Australia. She narrated how after her family moved into a new house that had a vacuum cleaner on the wall, she didn’t know what it was and she thought it looked like a tortoise; instructing her children to stay away from it.
”When a real estate agent inspected our new home, he complained about the carpet and suggested I vacuum. I told him I didn’t have a vacuum cleaner, he pointed to the tortoise on the wall, and the floor was spotless before he left.” She narrated the story as an analogy for the misunderstandings between different cultures.
Lucy thanked her family for support, saying her father taught her to aim for the sun to land on the moon.
She grew up in a humble setting, but she says she learned true poverty was being unable to freely choose your own destiny.
”I learned how beautiful it is when differences bring us together…I am proud to be a black African Australian.” She said.
WATCH SHORT VERSION SPEECH HERE
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