Politician Natalie Suleyman already has a number of firsts under her belt: she is the first Australian Muslim and the first Australian Turkish Cypriot to be elected to the Victoria Parliament.
Now, Suleyman adds a third after being appointed a minister in the new regional government for Victoria by Premier Daniel Andrews.
Suleyman, 48, a member of the Australian Labor Party – Victorian Branch, was sworn in as the Youth, Small Business and Veterans Minister on 5 December, eleven days after the state elections.
She had been re-elected as the member for St Albans, again securing the highest number of votes among the ten candidates who were standing. Suleyman garnered a total of 21,274 votes, or 59.56% after the second preference votes were applied. Turnout was just under 85%.
Suleyman first entered politics at the turn of the new millennium when she was elected as a councillor for the City of Brimbank in 2000. She was re-elected in 2003 and 2005. She has also served as mayor on three occasions.
She first won her seat in the Victoria Parliament back in 2014, which she has successfully retained in two state elections since.
Natalie, who was born Nazli, is the daughter of Hakki Suleyman, a well-known Australian Turkish Cypriot community activist.
Her St Alban’s constituency is located in Melbourne’s western suburbs. The area is known for its diverse population, with the roots of residents primarily hailing from Vietnam, India, China, Malta and the Philippines.
Although Natalie Suleyman is the first Turkish Cypriot origin Australian politician to become a state MP, she is not the first Turk to be elected to the Victoria Parliament. That record goes to Tayfun Eren, who was born in Turkiye and came to Australia at a young age. He was a Labor member for Doutta Galla, sitting in the upper Legislative Council from 1996 to 1999.