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The Senate Multicultural Videos

Yolanda Vega is running for a Federal Senate seat to represent Victorians.

“I am running for the Senate to represent Victorians and to ensure federal government policies are fair and reasonable – for us the people, our environment, and for future generations,” says Vega.

Yolanda is a researcher, advocate, and educator with a deep understanding of how government decisions impact people and communities. She arrived in Australia with her political refugee parents in 1971, aged 6. As a student, business owner and industry leader, Vega has witnessed many changes, but none as concerning as what is happening in politics today.

 “People are switching off politics because we’ve got such a low standard of leaders with very short-term visions. Today, however, we need people power more than ever to ensure democracy prevails. I am fearful that our democracy could be bought at the next election – the current imbalance of power is giving me nightmares!”

Yolanda’s mission, in running for the Senate, is to:

  • Help people re-connect to politics and really use their extraordinary power as voters to make a change;
  • Fight for transparency, integrity, and anti-corruption to make sure our democracy is not bought or sold by those in power, at the expense of the less powerful
  • Use scientific evidence to deliver outcomes for our state and to improve/change unfair or damaging policies
  • Break the cycle of knee-jerk short-term decision-making based on politician’s own narrow views of the world.
  • Deliver equity for all.

“Australians are aware there is an imbalance of power, few however, believe they can make a change. However, together we have the power to bring back balance and a reasonable voice that listens and works for the majority, not just the powerful and the rich” says Vega.

“Australia has significantly regressed over the past 12 years in the delivery of health services, education for our children, economic fairness, and equitable laws. Common-sense changes, for example, like Grace Tame’s campaign to change the law that silenced rape victims in Tasmania or the gender pay gap that should have stopped with legislation back in 1984.”

Corruption in Australia has been increasing since 2012. The Corruption Perception Index data illustrates that in 2021 Australia achieved its ‘lowest score’ obtaining 73 points in 2021, down from 85 points in 2013 (the best score in the index is 100).

“Unfortunately, the research indicates that when corruption increases, the standards for human rights decreases,” explains Vega.

“I am very grateful for the rich education I have obtained, and for the long list of jobs that have given me opportunities to gain experience, research, teach, and advocate for abused children, and women in business . I have used these experiences and skills in leadership positions and to provide policy advice on both federal government and not-for-profit boards for two decades. Now it is my time to give back.

“Parliament is where I can bring my lived and work experiences together; alongside my analytical, research and communication skills, together with my values of fairness, equality and community,” says Vega.

Reason Australia is excited that Vega will be adding to Fiona Patten’s successes and will provide a reasonable voice in Australia’s Federal Senate.

Vega’s achievements include:

  • A PhD investigating how Australia benefits from international law
  • Recognised for her excellent and innovative teaching skills by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University of Technology;
  • Founded and was CEO of the Australian Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 2009. Attracted influential women including Ita Buttrose , Deborah Hutton, Wendy McCarthy and Katherine Greiner to guide and advise her;
  • Instigated and published the first national research in Australia on female entrepreneurs ;
  • Appointed to various Government Advisory Boards and Committees by Ministers for Small Business, Brendan O’Connor (ALP) and Bruce Billson (LP):
    • Vega contributed to the strategy for the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) to provide faster solutions to small businesses affected and/or ignored by telecommunication operators; and increased options and times for small businesses to be able to make complaints to the TIO in order to continue running their business (2010-2012) ;
    • Initiated changes to federal policy, as well as the Productivity Commission Inquiry into childcare with a provocative national campaign (TV, radio, and press);
    • Was advisor to the Federal Government on the new Franchising Code to prevent small business across Australia from suffering financial hardship (2009-2017);
  • Initiated discussions and research about technology and financial literacy in the 1990s to support digital business growth ; and
  • Spent time reporting on the streets to advocate on issues faced by homeless elderly people

Core Capabilities

  • Communication expertise: strategy, publishing and media spokesperson.
  • Diversity proficiency: multiculturalism and gender issues.
  • Executive, non-executive, advisory committee and board experience.
  • International experience with delivery of bilateral trade missions.
  • Negotiating and influencing skills that have delivered beneficial outcomes and positive returns on investment.
  • Speaks English, Spanish and Italian.
  • Political acumen and policy-making expertise at ministerial level.

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