Kyinzom Dhongdue | Democratic Alliance

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1. Tell us your name and political party

My name is Kyinzom Dhongdue. I am the Democratic Alliance’s candidate for Bennelong. 

I am the only mum and woman running in this electorate, along with 7 male candidates.


2. What is your connection to Bennelong and why are you running for the seat?

I currently live on the North Shore in the neighbouring Berowra electorate. Bennelong feels like home turf for me. Like many in this electorate, I am a first-generation Australian, a migrant who has built a successful life from scratch.

I was born in a Tibetan refugee camp in India and came to Australia 16 years ago with a suitcase, a photo of the Dalai Lama, and $1,000 to my name. I have since raised a family and built a career in human rights advocacy.

Australia has given me a new life of hope, opportunity and freedom. And I am ready to give back. Australia is the best country in the world, but I do not take our freedom and democracy for granted.

My party Democratic Alliance is a new political party set up this year primarily to protect our democratic values and advocate for a tougher stand on China and help chart a new path for Australia. Australia is no longer beholden to an authoritarian foreign government that has weaponised trade to bully us and interfere in our political system, universities and community.

We believe in creating a fairer Australia, a nation where power is not concentrated in the hands of a corrupt elite beholden to powerful vested interests. We want to restore integrity in politics and support the immediate establishment of a federal anti-corruption watchdog with teeth.

We stand for taking stronger action on climate change and building a new economy. Climate change affects everything from global power relations to the future shape of our economy to the safety and prosperity of our communities. The good news is Australia has everything it needs to thrive as the world moves beyond fossil fuels. We are committed to bringing Australian manufacturing back and creating new jobs and industries through renewable energy.


3. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life.

I am a mum to a young daughter. She has joined me at many campaign events, and she thinks they are great fun! 

I am a social justice and human rights campaigner. I have taken six months’ break from my advocacy role at one of the world’s leading human rights organisations. I wanted to dedicate myself fully to this campaign because I think we are dealing with extraordinary challenges as a nation. For more than a decade, I’ve been an outsider championing for change. Now it’s time to bring change from within.

I won’t be in Canberra to promote the interests of a party, but the interests of the Australian people and the community of Bennelong. And I won’t be beholden to any party’s ideology or agenda. I will look at every issue on its merit.


4. What do you love most about the area and what is your favourite spot?

It’s the people and the environment. The beauty of this community is the diversity of views, experiences and cultures. I have been doorknocking the last few weeks and have enjoyed having conversations with so many people with amazing life stories.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to run in this electorate. I have learned so much from this community.

There are so many green spaces here. I am a big fan of parks. They are even better if there is a cafe attached. I think Ryde Park is definitely one of my favourite places. I also love reading books and working from public libraries. I like the West Ryde Library – it’s pretty cozy.


5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting the seat of Bennelong and why? If elected how would you address each of those issues?

Housing affordability has been identified as a key concern in Bennelong, and indeed across Australia. Housing prices have continued to increase over the last three decades, while wages and income support have not increased at nearly the same rate. I am committed to understanding and addressing the structural causes of the housing crisis. I will support practical policies that ensure housing affordability and reduce inequality, including building more affordable and sustainable housing.

Mental health is also a serious issue. I am committed to ensuring mental health is fully covered under Medicare. 

Another issue I am keen to work on is reforming the aged care sector. Successive governments have failed to protect the dignity and well-being of older Australians. I support a fundamental reform of the aged care sector and full implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.


6. What other key objectives do you have planned for the area? Please provide short-term (under 12 months) and long-term (up to 3/4 years). Please keep to a max of 4.

If elected, I would like to do a few things straight away.

Firstly, to actively collaborate with the local council, community and businesses to make Bennelong a Net Zero urban area. I would support the uptake of electric vehicles, building more charging stations, creating more bike pathways and increasing household energy efficiency.

Secondly, I would like to fight for free childcare for every family. As a working mum, I know the importance of early childhood education and adequate childcare support.

Thirdly, I would like to encourage people in this electorate to be more involved in politics. I understand that people can be cynical and disillusioned with politics. But I would like to work with local constituents to encourage active participation in how things are run in Canberra. To that effect, my door would be always open. I would consult the community on every major piece of legislation before casting my vote. 

I don’t have the answer to every policy issue. But I will listen to the community first and foremost. I will listen to experts, and I will listen to my conscience.


7. What is your party leaders biggest strength and biggest weakness?


Drew Pavlou is the leader of the Democratic Alliance. He is an intelligent and courageous 22-year-old man from Queensland. He is a lot more mature than many give him credit for. He is more mature than half of our current politicians.

The Chinese government tried to silence him when studying at the University of Queensland. But he became a louder critic of China’s human rights abuses and its export of censorship to the free world. He is not afraid to stand up to a bully.


Drew wears his heart on his sleeve, and he can shoot from the hip.