I came to Australia in 1970 as a Colombo Plan scholarship student. I received an Honours degree in Politics and Administration from the University of Tasmania, then moved to Melbourne to continue my studies at Monash University. I was extensively involved in ethnic community affairs since the arrival of Indo-Chinese refugees in Australia in 1976, leading to my appointment as a Commissioner of the Ethnic Affairs Commission from 1985 to 1993. In 1977 I commenced a 16-year career in the Victorian Public Service working in the human resources development and labour market program areas in various government departments. In 1993 I resigned from the Victorian Government and worked as a Youth Employment Counsellor with the Cambodian Association until my election to the Victorian Parliament in March 1996.
I am the first and only Cambodian-Chinese to be elected to a Parliament anywhere in the English-speaking world. I was the first Asian to be elected to a Lower House of Parliament in Australia. I was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Clayton, Victoria, in March 1996 and have held the position until 28 November 2014. I have been the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Opposition Leader on Asia Business Relations since March 2013.
On 29 November 2014 I were elected as the Member for Clarinda, following a redistribution of boundaries which saw the former electorate of Clayton abolished.
Below is my excerpt from the Parliamentary Handbook which is accessible from the Victorian State Parliament website:
Parliamentary Service: Elected MLA for Clayton March 1996. Re-elected 1999, November 2002, November 2006. Parliamentary representative on Monash University Council 1996-98.
Parliamentary Party Positions: Opposition Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs 1997-99. Opposition Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business 1999. Convenor, Parliamentary Caucus Economic Bill Cttee since 1997. Special Adviser to the Premier on Victoria-Asia Business Relations since March 2002.
Ministerial Appointments: Parliamentary Secretary, Victorian Communities December 2002-December 2006. Parliamentary Secretary, for Multicultural Affairs and Asia Engagement from 23 December 2014.
Parliamentary Committee Service: Economic Development Cttee 1996-99. Chairman, Family and Community Development Cttee 1999-2002. Economic Development and Infrastructure Cttee since 2009. Co-Chair, Government Friends of Tourism since 2006. Co-Convenor of Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Burma since 1998.
Party Positions: Member of the ALP since 1985. Member of the following party Cttees: Immigration & Ethnic Affairs Policy 1988-92, Foreign Affairs Policy 1988-92. FEA Delegate, State Conference 1989-90. Pres., 1989-90, Sec., 1991-95, Clarinda Branch. Hotham FEA Executive and FEA Delegate to State Conference since 1995 and National Conference since 2000. Convenor, Parliamentary Caucus Cttee for Victorian Communities since 2003.
Previous Occupation: Staff officer 1977-82. Human resource development officer 1982-85. Migrant employment counsellor 1987-89. Youth employment counsellor 1989-93, 1994-96. Overseas qualifications assessor 1994..
Memberships: Commissioner, Ethnic Affairs Commission 1985-93 (Governor-in-Council appointee); Honorary Advisor to more than 20 community organisations.