Lucy Gichuhi’s Inaugural Speech in the Senate

Lucy Gichuhi is an African immigrant and new independent senator in the Australian Parliament.

She recently delivered her maiden speech in the Senate which focused on the themes of upward mobility, the challenges of being an immigrant, and the dangers of the welfare trap.

She said she hopes to focus on education, aged care, and freedom of thought, conscience, and belief.

Wearing shoes could mean that walking to school would be more comfortable, but soon I realised that true poverty was when a person is unable to freely choose their own destiny. It is when a person does not have options. This could be the result of spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, financial, social or even political inhibitors. These inhibitors are often the root cause of true and absolute poverty. My role as a senator is to ensure in any way I can, great or small, that Australia does not slip into the latter form of poverty. Most importantly, Australian civil institutions, such as the legal, political, electoral and socio-economic institutions, must remain transparent and accountable to every Australian.

The generosity of Australians fulfilled the vision I had as a young girl. I had faith in the ability of a person to nurture and support a fellow human being, just because they are human. I realised what a good system of governance could do for its people. President Abraham Lincoln’s words in the Gettysburg Address came to my mind: a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Far away from home I felt safe, secure and free, despite having no locks or high fences around our house, which is what we were used to in Nairobi. I felt physically safe. Even though I had only a few dollars in my bank account, I knew I could raise a young family. I knew I was able to pursue my long-held dreams. I knew I could get a job. I would provide food and housing and, above all, give quality education to our children. It was a time I will never forget. As a senator, this is what I want to preserve. I desire for every Australian to experience the things I felt when I first landed. I believe every government should do whatever it takes to grant its citizens security, physical and otherwise.

Every success to her!