Sang Nguyen

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Sang Minh Nguyen or Nguyễn Minh Sang (b. 1 January 1960[1]) is a Vietnamese-Australian politician. He was an Australian Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Council from May 1996 until November 2006, representing Melbourne West Province.[1]


Nguyen was born in the Vietnamese town of Long Xuyen.[1] He studied at Lasan Duc-Minh High School in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) from 1970-4,[1] but fled Vietnam in 1977 as a refugee with the fall of the city to the Communists and the end of the Vietnam War, spending 10 months in Leamsing refugee camp in Thailand.[1] After securing refugee status in 1978,[2][3][4] he briefly studied at Greythorn High School then completed his secondary studies at Swinburne TAFE in 1980.[1]

He became involved in a series of positions related to helping the community, working as a mathematics teacher at the Collingwood Education Centre from 1983 to 1984, as a youth worker at the Ecumenical Migration Centre from 1985 to 1987,[1] and as a coordinator at the Indochinese Communities Council.[4] In 1988, Nguyen was elected to the City of Richmond council, becoming at 28 the youngest member of the council and Victoria's first Vietnamese councillor.[4] He later went on to serve as the city's mayor for a year in August 1991, the first Vietnamese mayor in Australia,[2] and continued to serve as a councillor until 1994. During this period, he also became involved with the trade union movement, serving as a Migrant Liaison Officer for the National Union of Workers from 1989 to 1993.[1]

In 1993, Nguyen took up a position as a staffer working for then federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Gareth Evans.[1] He worked with the Minister for three years before winning pre-selection to contest the safe Labor Legislative Council seat of Melbourne West Province at the 1996 election.[3] Nguyen faced a challenge from left-wing social welfare campaigner Les Twentyman, who ran as an independent, but Twentyman's vote dropped from 22.9% an earlier unsuccessful 1992 bid to just 10.3%,[5] and Nguyen was elected. As a member of parliament, he served on the Family and Community Development Committee from 1996–99, the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee from 1999–2006, and the House Committee from 2003-06.[1] He was often a spokesperson for the Vietnamese community in the chamber and elsewhere.[citation needed]

In March 2006, Martin Pakula, who had unsuccessfully tried to unseat former federal Labor leader Simon Crean in a preselection challenge earlier in the month, was selected instead of Nguyen, despite Nguyen being keen to recontest the seat.[6][7] In 2008 he considered running to be Labor's candidate in the Kororoit by-election.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Nguyen, Sang Minh". re-member. Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Asia Calling: Australia". The Economist. 24 August 1991. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Evans, Gareth (10 March 1995). "Sang Nguyen and Australian Multiculturalism" (PDF). Speech at Sang Nguyen Support Dinner. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Bellamy, Louise (8 August 1988). "Richmond elects City Council for first time in six years". The Age. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "2008 Kororoit By-election". ABC Elections. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "Deal dumps MP". Star News Group. 21 March 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  7. ^ Murphy, Matthew; Farrah Tomazin (15 March 2006). "Crean rival backed for state seat". The Age. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Austin, Paul; David Rood (4 June 2008). "Baillieu persuades Libs to field Kororoit candidate". The Age. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 

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