Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Statements by Members
I, too, wish to reflect on the terrible situation in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where almost 800,000 people have been displaced and over 350 lives lost in a rising death toll as a result of the extensive flooding in the region. There has, sadly, been massive destruction as a result of this unprecedented natural disaster in Kerala. Relief in the form of clean water, food and urgent medical supplies has begun to arrive to help the hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected. Much more help will be required. I urge the government to offer whatever assistance Australia can muster and continue the great Australian tradition of humanitarian aid to those in need.
Australia and India share many things in common: a colonial past, with its accompanying brutality; a shared experience in the First World War, with 15,000 Indian soldiers fighting alongside the Anzacs at Gallipoli; and the famous bravery of the Ghurka regiments in the Second World War. And, of course, we share the more civilised enterprises of cricket and the great game of hockey. There is great rivalry in the tests played between the two countries in these great and beautiful games.
My father lived in Kerala for three years. He ran a rubber plantation for a few years in the late fifties. He held a vast affection for India and its people. I grew up hearing an awful lot about Kerala, and I really hope to visit it one day. We have a large Indian diaspora in Australia that contributes so much to Australia, to WA and to my community of Rockingham and Kwinana and Wellard and Bertram. My thoughts are with the Indian community across Australia who are worried for their families. In particular, we wish the best for the people of Kerala.