Charishma Kaliyanda: My first day at work as a NSW MP

Ten questions with Charishma Kaliyanda, NSW MP for Liverpool, about her first day at work as a Parliamentarian

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When I woke up in the morning my feelings were: those of anticipation of an exciting day ahead.

As I left for work on my first day as an MP: mum advised me to be happy and not to stress. “Enjoy the day,” she said. Dad wished me luck on this special day.

As I walked to Parliament House: I was running all the things I had to do today and processes I had to follow as an MP. I did not want to make a fool of myself on day 1.

The first friendly face I saw at work was: of Electorate Officer with a big smile.

NSW MP Charishma Kaliyanda

How I decided what to wear: I had thought deeply about what I will wear on my first day as an MP. I wore a blue sari from Karnataka, draped in the Kodava style, with a Waratah broach. I wanted to share that I will be bringing my whole self to this role and to the Parliament — my commitment to and love for my community in wearing the colours of NSW, and my pride in where I come from and the diversity of my community in wearing a sari specifically from where I was born and in the Kodava style. I did struggle with it because there wasn’t really a playbook for what to do and what was expected but I was encouraged to “be myself”, and so I wanted to share my authentic self with our broader community.

My best advice for my first day came from: two Labor party colleagues Jihad Dib and Sophie Cotsis, who were very supportive and full of advice. “There’s a lot to learn, so take it slow and ask questions as much as you can,” Jihad told me.

At lunch: I was so busy getting things from my car that I missed the official lunch but got back in time for dessert, which was delicious macarons.

My surprise of the day was: the realisation of the reality of everything coming together – after all the campaigning, hard work, meetings, door knocking and all the experiences along the journey of being a politician, it all came together and the gravity of the situation as a member of Parliament sunk in. I remember what someone said that now you are in a position to make a difference in the life of others, especially your constituents, and that is a huge responsibility.

My one memory from this day: the amazing energy on the first day in parliament. Everyone was filled with optimism, enthusiasm, and energy regardless of whichever party they were from. They all want to do the right thing for their constituency and state.

For the next four years of being a Member of Parliament: I am so looking forward to it. It will be a steep learning curve, but I am excited to get going.

Read More: Charishma Kaliyanda MP: ‘More participation in all aspects of our democracy’


Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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