Labor chooses education adviser and former diplomat as bank candidate

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Labor has chosen former diplomat, politician and UK Nudge Unit adviser Zhi Soon to take on Liberal David Coleman at Banks headquarters in New South Wales in the upcoming federal election .

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will present Mr Soon as a candidate on Friday at a media event at a daycare center, highlighting his work as an education advisor at several institutions.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese announced that Zhi Soon was the Labor candidate for the Liberal-held Banks seat.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

This includes time spent at the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, in the UK office of the International Behavioral Insights Office, informally known as the “Nudge Unit”, in the Behavioral Insights Unit of the Government of New Wales. South and the NSW Board of Studies. He also worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including a posting to Afghanistan, and in the Prime Minister’s office of Kevin Rudd.

Mr. Albanese said Mr. Soon understood “the importance of hard work and community”.

“Zhi will be a passionate advocate for this electorate, determined to ensure that more families in banks and across the country have access to good quality education and health care,” he said in a statement.

He highlighted the local relationships of Mr Soon, living with his partner Bridget in Padstow, with his parents and sister also in the nearby suburb.

“Like many others in her community, Zhi’s family came to Australia seeking a better life and new opportunities for their children, as well as enthusiasm to contribute to their new country,” said Mr. Albanese.

“From an early age, his parents emphasized the importance of education, the value of hard work and the importance of community and the need of society to support each other.”

Mr. Coleman, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, has served as a Banking Member since 2013.

He holds the seat by a 6.26 point margin, having won a swing to him of more than four points in the 2019 election.

He previously held the immigration portfolio but stepped away from it for more than 12 months for personal reasons, assuming the new role of Deputy Minister in December 2020.


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