A Chisholm father wants his children to own their own home

In this election series, Woh works with the Center for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne to delve into the heart of the Chisholm federal fringe seat in south-east Melbourne to see what people think ahead of the survey. Find more of the series here.

In the Yang family in Mulgrave, the alarm goes off at 4am on weekends and Xin Yang is early on empty streets headed to the Ventura bus depot in Dandenong to begin his shift.

The 52-year-old Chinese immigrant arrived in Australia in 1996 and only recently moved to one of the country’s most contested voters.

Xin’s wife, Jizhong Pan, is also Chinese from Australia. She arrived in Melbourne in 1985 with her parents and met her Xin on a return trip to China. They fell in love and in 1996 decided to settle in Melbourne together.

Last year they sold their home in Dandenong, where they raised their children Jennifer, 21, Cindy, 18, and Andy, 16, and moved to a quiet neighborhood near the southern border of Chisholm.

Data from the 2016 census indicate this 14.2% of Chisholm residents were born in Chinaand 15.6% speak Mandarin. Xin and his wife are among them. They both speak English and Mandarin at home.

“When we were kids it was exclusively Mandarin, but when we grew up and went to school, we started learning English and now we mix,” says Jennifer.

Xin devoted his hand to a variety of jobs, including in manufacturing, and ran a fish-and-chip shop before becoming a bus driver two years ago, preferring the weekend and morning shifts.

“I think being a bus driver gets good pay, and it fits what I need for my life. I like to drive to different places and meet different people … Sometimes I pass Chadstone and keep going to Caulfield station, “she says.

Xin always takes care of her passengers: “Especially vulnerable people such as the disabled and the elderly. I am always available and happy to give them a hand and make them happy “.

When he first voted in the Australian election, his approach was to choose MPs of Chinese origin. But his thinking and his practice on this have changed.

“I felt closer to MPs who are fluent in Mandarin, but I later realized that MPs with a Chinese background won’t necessarily take care of people who are Australian Chinese,” he says.

Xin remembers the 2013 federal election: Kevin Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking Labor politician recently resettled as prime minister, campaigned unsuccessfully against Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party. “As a Chinese, I was really happy to see that the leader spoke fluent Chinese,” he says.

Over the years he has voted Labor and Liberal.

“I think it depends a lot on your class. I voted for the Labor Party when I worked in the manufacturing industry, because it would have dealt more of the ordinary workers, but I switched to the Liberal Party after having my own small business, “she says.

A big problem weighing on him in this election is the price of housing. He wants his kids to be able to afford a home someday, but he’s worried that the prospect will fade unless they have careers that bring in big paychecks.

In 1998, Xin paid $ 150,000 for his first home, a row house in Dandenong. Last year she sold it for $ 695,000.

“At the time, even if I received a low salary, I could still afford a house. After all these years have passed, house prices have continued to rise, ”she says.