Labor picks candidate to fill Pnevmatikos vacancy

Early childhood educator Mira El Dannawi has been selected as Labor’s candidate to fill the Upper House vacancy left by Irene Pnevmatikos.

Oct 12, 2023, updated Oct 12, 2023
New Labor MLC Mira El Dannawi. Photo: supplied

New Labor MLC Mira El Dannawi. Photo: supplied

The north-eastern suburbs resident was endorsed by the ALP State Executive this morning following the the resignation of Irene Pnevmatikos who recently revealed she was diagnosed with cancer.

Mira El Dannawi, 39, was born in Lebanon and moved to Australia in 2007. She has lived in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs since migrating and has completed a Certificate III and a Diploma in early childhood education.

She is also the assistant director of Modbury Community Children’s Centre and, in a statement, pledged to “stand for what’s fair and have workers best interests at heart in everything I do”.

“I strongly believe in social and economic justice and a fair go for all, I will endeavour to represent the voice of the vulnerable, the workers, the children, the elderly, the migrant and the many other groups within our communities,” El Dannawi said.

“It’s not just educating our young and giving them the foundations for a great future, it’s also about helping families – from diverse backgrounds – see their children dream and achieve.”

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Pnevmatikos, who was first elected to the Upper House in 2018 after a career in law, resigned in September citing ongoing health issues.

During her career in politics, she chaired parliament’s Legislative Review Committee and other inquiries into wage theft and the gig economy, as well as a government taskforce into the gender pay gap.

By-elections are not held to replace casual vacancies in the Upper House, with the party from which the MP resigned instead getting to nominate the preferred replacement.

Pnevmatikos revealed in her valedictory speech three days after announcing her retirement that a recent body scan detected five cancerous spots on her lungs.

Previously, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2022 and subsequently had a kidney removed.

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