Australia’s first black African member of federal parliament has been sworn-in.
Lucy Gichuhi was warmly welcomed by colleagues as she took her seat in the Senate on Tuesday, filling the South Australian seat left vacant for more than six months by the resignation of Family First’s Bob Day.
“I am honoured and humbled to be sworn in today as the first-ever person of black African descent in the Australian parliament,” Senator Gichuhi wrote in a brief message on Facebook.
“I thank God, my husband and daughters, my father and all other friends, family and supporters for your encouragement, and sharing the vision we hold to unite Australia as one.”
Mr Day quit parliament last year to deal with the collapse of his building group.
But he has since been ruled ineligible to have been elected by the High Court, because he had indirectly benefited from a government lease arrangement on his Adelaide electorate office.
His former Family First party has since merged with the new Australian Conservatives party, launched by Liberal party defector Cory Bernardi.
But Senator Gichuhi has chosen not to merge with the new party and told the Senate she would sit as an independent.
The Kenyan-born lawyer arrived in Australia with her husband and children in 1999 and became an Australian citizen in 2001.
Labor unsuccessfully tried to challenge her eligibility amid questions about her Kenyan citizenship.
Her swearing-in brings the total number of senators back to 76.