The son of Indian migrants made Australian political history on Tuesday, becoming the first MP to be sworn into office on the Hindu religious text.
Entering NSW Parliament, Labor upper house MP Daniel Mookhey pledged his loyalty by swearing on the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture whose title translates to “Song of the Lord”. He was the first MP in any Australian Parliament to pledge on the ancient holy text.
Born in Blacktown and raised in Merrylands, Mr Mookhey is the son of migrants from northern India`s Punjab state.
The 32-year-old from Labor`s right wing has worked as a management consultant and was the 2013 federal campaign director for the Australian Council of Trade Unions. He replaces Labor MP Steve Whan in the upper house.
NSW Parliament holds copies of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah, however Mr Mookhey brought his own copy of the text known as the Gita.
“It`s incredibly humbling to be the first Australian parliamentarian to swear his oath of allegiance on the Bhagavad Gita,” he told the media before the ceremony.
“It was a very important backdrop to my childhood and I`m swearing my oath today to tip my hat to that heritage,” he said, adding he wanted to honour “my parents and the sacrifices they made to come to this country”.
Mr Mookhey said he was married in a Hindu ceremony and observes major festivals, but “I`m not a person who is at temple every day”.