House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013


Electorate of Holt: Indian Community

9:45 pm

Photo of Anthony ByrneAnthony Byrne (Holt, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Tonight I rise to talk about a very important community living in my federal electorate of Holt, a community which adds immense richness and vibrancy to my electorate. One of the privileges of being a member of federal parliament is the ability to attend citizenship ceremonies, particularly the citizenship ceremonies conducted by the City of Casey. It is wonderful to be present at a ceremony where people from all corners of the globe and all walks of life take that final step to truly become Australian. To see the faces of these new citizens full of hope and optimism about the future of the country that they call home is wonderful. I have noticed particularly the new citizens that have come from India, in many cases young families who now call Australia home. Their stories from all parts of India, wherever they have come from, are now our stories. They have become part of the Australian fabric, part of the Australian story.

One of my favourite stories is from the last citizenship ceremony, that of a young woman who came from Tamil Nadu who was studying, I think, civil engineering and science at Monash University. I asked her what she wanted to do and she wanted to work for a particular mining company. I asked what would happen if the mining boom finished off and, quick as a flash, she said that she would work for Boeing. I like the vitality and spirit of young people and particularly of that young woman who came from India.

In Australia there is a rapidly growing Indian community. According to the 2011 census, approximately 295,000 people living in Australia were born in India and over 390,000 people have Indian ancestry. In 2011-12 those migrating from India were the largest source of permanent migration to Australia, forming 15.7 per cent of the total migration program in 2011-12, whilst according to the 2011 census there are 11,116 people of Indian ancestry residing in my federal electorate of Holt.

Since the 1800s, Indian migrants have made a profound contribution to Australia in many ways. Through their culture they have enriched Australia. Through their festivals, through their temples and particularly through their achievements in the fields of science, medicine, law and even fashion design they are making their mark on this country in a very, very big way.

As I have said, their stories are our stories, and I am going to run out of time talking about some of their stories. Stories are innumerable about people from India who have come to make this country their home, enriching our local community, opening up small businesses, establishing local community heritage centres or establishing sporting groups. The list is endless. For example, on 15 June 2013 I had the pleasure of joining Luke Dennellan, the Victorian state member for Narre Warren North and the Hon. Lee Tarlamis, the Victorian state member for South-East and Metropolitan Province, to attend the official opening of JosanMotors in Hallam, which is run by Mr Hajap Singh. Mr Singh is a local resident who has opened a small business of motor repairing. It is a small business that has all the modern machinery. He has done this. He has taken the leap of faith, after working for many years from another company, in establishing a small business in the suburb of Hallam. It is not easy to establish your own small business, but Mr Singh's initiative is to be commended particularly now as he is one of 18,900 small business proprietors in the City of Casey who are vital to our local economy.

There are other notable small businesses run by members of the Indian community, such as Rox Industriesin Dandenongrun by Mr Prince Mashli. Since 1994 Rox Industries has been manufacturing high-quality mechanical components. There is a very vibrant Indian community making its mark in manufacturing in the south-east.

At this particular function I also met a Mr Kamran Kanh, who represents the Landmark Zenath Group, who is working for a company that is planning to establish 20 restaurants all over Australia in the next five years including five restaurants in Melbourne. This is a significant investment. I also want to quickly mention Neeraj Nanda, who runs the local South Asia Times, and Ravi Ragupathy, who runs Moviebook,an online magazine about cinema, for their work in promoting and publishing local Indian news and Indian films throughout the local media.

I could just keep going on and on and on, but I would like to say that these stories are success stories. These are stories about a community that has come a long way to make this country their home. You see the establishment in the community of the magnificent Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple. I do not know whether those opposite have seen it, but it is a landmark Indian temple in south-eastern Melbourne. This is a wonderful community, a vibrant and rich community. I am glad that they have made Australia their home. They have made our country stronger and richer as a consequence.


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