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    Parramatta Labor MP Julie Owens admits western Sydney residents still perceived as bogans

    EXCLUSIVE: Fired-up MP slams Sydney snobs who STILL believe those living in city’s west as ‘bogans’ – after woman’s extraordinary claim she missed a job because she’s a ‘westie’

    • Labor member for Parramatta Julie Owens said western Sydney seen as ‘bogan’ 
    • ABC broadcast a western Sydney special from a Penrith performing arts centre
    • Erin Foster in the audience said she lost job offer because of where she lived
    • Western Sydney Women advocate Amanda Rose said this was discrimination 
    • Missed out on a job because of where you live? contact: [email protected] 

    A Labor MP has admitted western Sydney residents are still perceived as ‘bogans’.

    Julie Owens, the federal member for Parramatta, said that even in 2020, her area was unfairly stereotyped as being unsophisticated despite its diverse cultural mix of restaurants.

    ‘People have a perception western Sydney is a bunch of bogans,’ she told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

    ‘I think there’s still a bit of that out there. We’re actually not though.

    ‘It’s an incredibly sophisticated place. It’s a place you come for food for a start.’

    Ms Owens, a 62-year-old former shadow assistant minister, has spoken out after Erin Foster told the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday she lost a job offer because of where she came from.

    People from western Sydney are often disparagingly referred to as ‘westies’. 

    ‘Over my working life, I’ve actually had job offers rescinded when my employers found out I’ll be commuting from western Sydney,’ she said.

    Ms Foster initially thought employers were reluctant to hire someone who had a long commute to get to work.

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    Julie Owens, the member for Parramatta, said that even in 2020, her area was unfairly stereotyped as being unsophisticated despite its diverse cultural mix of restaurants. ‘People have a perception western Sydney is a bunch of bogans,’ she told Daily Mail Australia

    A woman from an unfashionable outer suburb has spoken out about having a job offer withdrawn because of where she lived. Erin Foster revealed her situation as an audience member on the ABC's Q&A program as it broadcast a western Sydney special from Penrith

    A woman from an unfashionable outer suburb has spoken out about having a job offer withdrawn because of where she lived. Erin Foster revealed her situation as an audience member on the ABC’s Q&A program as it broadcast a western Sydney special from Penrith

    Ms Owens, who has been in Parliament since 2004, disagreed with the suggestion people were losing job offers because they came from western Sydney.

    ‘I haven’t heard that I have to say,’ she said. 

    The Labor backbencher and former record industry label executive said people were more likely to miss out on a job because of racial or cultural discrimination.

    ‘I do hear stories from people they can’t get through the door because of their name,’ Ms Owens said. 

    ‘What we find quite common in western Sydney is that people of various races are more qualified for the jobs they apply for than the jobs require.

    ‘You hear stories of people working as bank tellers, which is supposed to be an entry level position, when actually, they’ve got serious qualifications. 

    ‘Even where a person is qualified for the job, even where a person does have the qualifications and the experience, there seems to be a greater difficultly in getting the job.’

    The Labor backbencher and former record industry label executive said people were more likely to miss out on a job because of racial or cultural discrimination

    The Labor backbencher and former record industry label executive said people were more likely to miss out on a job because of racial or cultural discrimination

    While many migrants over qualified, Ms Owens said overall lower levels of university education in western Sydney, compared with wealthier parts of the city, fed the perception is was less fashionable. 

    ‘There are real barriers,’ she said. 

    Amanda Rose, the founding director of social advocacy group Western Sydney Women, said the withdrawal of a job offer had nothing to do with the travel time.

    ‘That’s rubbish. If someone wants a job, they will travel,’ she said.

    ‘To have a job rescinded because of where you’re from and because you’re from western Sydney, that is discrimination and that is a stigma that comes with western Sydney.’

    Ms Rose, who grew up in western Sydney, said people from this area were often saddled with inaccurate stereotypes.

    ‘”Oh, if you’re from western Sydney, honey, you’re not smart, you’re not ambitious, you don’t really want to make it in life”,’ she said.

    Amanda Rose, the founding director of social advocacy group Western Sydney Women, said the withdrawal of a job offer had nothing to do with the travel time

    Amanda Rose, the founding director of social advocacy group Western Sydney Women, said the withdrawal of a job offer had nothing to do with the travel time

    ‘I’m sick to death of hearing, “Oh, he’s a Blacktown boy gone good” or “Haven’t you done well for yourself, sweetheart?”.’

    Television personality Lisa Wilkinson grew up in Campbelltown

    Television personality Lisa Wilkinson grew up in Campbelltown

    Blacktown was where movie star Toni Collette grew up and was the suburb where retired billionaire Frank Lowy set up Westfield in 1960, growing it into the world’s biggest shopping mall group.

    Former prime minister Paul Keating, former Test cricket captain Steve Waugh and his brother Mark spent their childhood in the south-west Sydney suburb of Bankstown. 

    One of Steve Waugh’s successors Michael Clarke hailed from Liverpool. 

    Television personality Lisa Wilkinson grew up in Campbelltown. 

    None of those prominent Australians still live in western Sydney. 

    Western Sydney is home to 2.5million people, with more than half the residents in some areas having been born overseas.

    This area is also very influential politically and often decides federal elections, with the once safe Labor area now being challenged as the Liberal Party appeals to aspirational and some socially-conservative voters.

    The ABC special was broadcast at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre at Penrith in the federal electorate of Lindsay, which has voted with the government at every election bar one since 1984.

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