Darwin’s ‘Laksa Queen’ Moves from Cooking to Politics in the Documentary Democracy Darling!

Watch Democracy Darling! via Al Jazeera here.

In far north Australia, Amye Un, Darwin’s infamous ‘laksa queen’, is moving from a lifetime of cooking into politics. Amye is fun, full of spectacle, a viral star, and has local cult celebrity status. She’s also inexperienced in Australian politics. 

In Democracy Darling! we follow Amye’s roller coaster debut, in the midst of COVID- 19, leading up to the August 2020 Northern Territory elections – as Amye tries to win a seat from the Territory’s most powerful. 

Amye is a fish-out-of-water in a Parliamentary race where nobody else is quite like her. She is a migrant with broken English. She also struggles to be taken seriously by some, due to her wild campaign stunts, much to the concern of her family, especially her adult son. Juan. 

In 2019, in a hilarious viral video, Amye demanded council “give us green” on her restaurant nature strip, and this viral fame spurred Amye into politics. Like migrants everywhere, Amye ultimately wants to come into her own. And with her siblings back in Timor all politicians, Amye is now hungry for the same. 

Politics for Amye is also personal. At age 7, Amye saw atrocities in West Timor which continue to haunt her, committed by politicians. It was at that pivotal moment Amye decided she wanted to become a politician when she grew up. And be everything those politicians were not. Amye’s entrée into politics is not only a way of giving back to her community, but a way of holding herself together and keeping her childhood demons at bay. 

The stakes are high; Amye risks everything on her campaign including her profits from her failing business. Combined with this, she is naïve to the Territory political snake pit. In the end, will politics give Amye what she needs?

Democracy Darling! is not about whether Amye wins, but what her story tells us about politics – who should represent us in parliament as well as the complex nature of democracy.

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