Concept

Tsebin Tchen

Summary
Tsebin Tchen () (10 March 1941 – 25 November 2019) was a Chinese-Australian Liberal member of the Australian Senate from 1999 to 2005, as Senator of Victoria. Tchen was born in Chongqing to refugees during WW2. His father was then a junior diplomat with the Chinese Government and was posted overseas when Tchen was two years old. Tchen followed his father to various postings and never returned to China to live, except for two years (1954–56) in Taiwan, where the Nationalist government relocated after Communist takeover. His father continued as diplomat to represent the Republic of China government until 1975 when he retired to live with Tchen in Australia. In 1958, Tchen gained a student visa to Australia to study—at that time, the only way for Asians to enter Australia due to the White Australia Policy. Eventually, he obtained a master's degree in town planning at Sydney University. From 1966, Tchen worked as a New South Wales government town planner in Sydney. Harold Holt succeeded Robert Menzies as Australian Prime Minister in 1965 and effectively ended the White Australia Policy by altering the immigration law to allow Asian migration. After weighing up his choices, Tchen decided to remain in Australia, and gained citizenship in 1971. In 1972, he joined the Liberal Party of Australia, and became active in Melbourne's Chinese community after moving there to work in 1973. At the 1993 election, Tchen was preselected on the Liberal Senate ticket for Victoria, in the unwinnable fourth position. Despite that, Tchen had made history by being the first Asian-born migrant to be endorsed by either major party in Australian politics at a national election. Tchen made another run for pre-selection in 1998, at the height of the Pauline Hanson controversy, and was successful. In order to gain preselection, he had to replace a sitting Senator, Karen Synon. She was defeated by Tchen for the third position on the combined Liberal-National Party Senate ticket – a rare event in Australian politics.
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