This is simply ignorant and racist

Sydney, NSW
15th December, 2015

The Cartoon by Mr Bill Leak in The Australian newspaper on Monday, 14th Dec, 2015 is ignorant and racist.

Courtesy The Australian newspaper

Courtesy The Australian newspaper

It depicts a few poor Indians in India trying to eat the solar panels, with Mango Chutney. The message from the cartoon is that Indians don’t know what the Solar Panels are for or that Indians need to worry about Food, instead of high tech Solar Panels.

Bill Leak is wrong on both aspects.

Solar Panels are increasingly used in India, because of plentiful supply of sunshine, subsidy by the authorities and erratic supply of conventional energy. I know that a few people in my own village in Uttar Pradesh State have been using it for variety of purposes for many years.

Indians are fully capable of handling technology. Mobile Internet and Mobile Phones are every where, even in the remote parts of the nation. Social media is quite common everywhere.

India needs energy ie electricity. Coal-fire powered thermal power centres are the most common source for the energy, but India is making progress to diversify into Nuclear energy and Solar power. This is a responsible step because it will reduce pollution and help in climate change.

India is the fourth biggest source of global pollution. Anything which will reduce this undesirable contribution is a welcome step.

India is a developing economy but is not a economic backwater. It is 3rd biggest economy on PPP basis. It is a global leader in IT and is the fastest growing economy since last quarter of 2014, surpassing China. The days of primitive nature of economy are long gone, but people like Bill Leak seem to be stuck on the state of India in 1950s.

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Economic growth in India surpassed China this year

(Source: Charles Schwab, International Monetary Fund data as of 11/20/2015.

China’s growth rate is widely expected to decline. The IMF forecasts GDP will slow from around 6.8% in 2015 to 6.3% in 2016. However, the IMF forecasts India’s growth rate of about 7.3% in 2015 is expected to reach 7.5% in 2016 and continue to rise to 7.7% by 2020.)

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Undoubtedly, India has many poor people, but it also has approx. 300+ million strong middle class, which has the knowledge, money and interest in, and will happily benefit from, newer sources of electricity. After all, India has plentiful of sunshine.

Bill Leak probably does not know that Indians have been the number one source of migrants to Australia over last few years. They are coming as the skilled migrants too, thus contributing to the Australian economy.

There are about 450,000 people of Indian heritage currently in Australia.

I read the article in The Australian today (15th Dec, 2015). Like others, I felt offended with the inherent racist message in the Cartoon. Bill Leak has, in the past, claimed that freedom to express is a fundamental right and that right includes right to offend. It may be true on the theoretical basis, but it is equally stupid to say or convey something which is without sufficient basis or conveying something which is unwarranted.

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Yadu Singh@dryadusingh Dec 15 

, I hope you know about it.

, you are ignorant & racist. Please read up about India. should apologize.

Indian HC in Aus@navdeepsuri Dec 15

Fully aware and doing what is required. Thanks

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I remember a Cartoon in Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) a few months ago, stereotyping Jewish people in a very adverse way, leading to significant outcry. This forced the SMH to apologise for the Cartoon.

Will Bill Leak and The Australian newspaper do the same in this case is something which we would wait and watch.

Further info:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/14/australian-newspaper-cartoon-depicting-indians-eating-solar-panels-attacked-racist?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/cartoons/bleak-gallery/image-gallery/ee8a4ef1032a9da5a37c87ecb7f34c5c

Dr Yadu Singh
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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family

Merry Christmas and Happy New year

Dr Yadu Singh & family

Sydney, Australia

 Dec 24, 2014

Expectations from Prime Minister Modi

Dr Yadu SinghSydney, 14th November, 2014

Expectations from the Modi Govt

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is visiting Australia between 15th and 18th Nov, 2014. After attending G20 summit in Brisbane on 15th and 16th November, he will start his state visit. Indian community is excited with this visit. This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister after PM Rajiv Gandhi visited Australia in 1986. PM Modi will interact with the community in Sydney and Melbourne, in addition to addressing a Joint session of Australian Parliament.

Prime Minister Modi’s image is that of a decisive and a “can do” leader. Indians, not just in India but around the world, are optimistic that things will change for the better and the Indian economy will grow rapidly.

When I wrote a post in June, 2014, I mentioned many things which people expected. Many of those things have either been delivered or getting delivered. Prime Ministerial visit to Australia is one of them. Nuclear trade deal has already been signed when Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited India in September. Australian citizens getting the facility of Visa on arrival in India is another one which is in the process of getting implemented. Serious work is in progress in regards to Black money, stashed in overseas Banks. Supreme Court’s activism is playing an important role in it. Investigations and prosecutions are likely to commence soon. Based on my interactions with many Indians in Australia, there are a few more things that people expect the new government to deliver.

Genuine dual citizenship: This has been discussed and debated for long. There is an almost universal demand that overseas Indians be given a right to hold genuine dual citizenship with voting and property rights, if the country of their citizenship has no issue with this and if there are no security issues with granting dual citizenship to any particular overseas Indian. If USA, UK, Australia and most of developed and democratic countries as well as some countries in the region see no issues in granting dual citizenship to their citizens, then people argue that there is no rational basis for India to deny dual citizenship to Indians. PM Modi has the political capital to deliver this long-standing demand. A petition and campaign for Dual citizenship is running on Change.org (http://tinyurl.com/kxtlosw) and Social media presently (http://tinyurl.com/m4b4luu).

Effective anti-corruption body: A group of 10-15 people from civil society including eminent jurists and overseas Indians (if possible) as well as politicians should be asked to review the Lokpal Act, passed by the Lok Sabha earlier, and suggest steps to rectify weaknesses to make it an effective corruption fighting body. Such body should have sufficient resources to discharge its functions. Unlike previous Govts, this whole process to fine-tune this should not take more than one year from the time NDA Govt took office.

The PM’s global Overseas Indians Advisory body: The PM should revamp his Global Advisory Body, constituted by the previous Govt. People in it should be those who have significant presence, influence and interactions among Indians in their countries. The practice of Indian diplomats recommending their sycophants to become members of this body should be done away with.

Country specific Overseas Indian Advisory body: Countries with significant overseas Indian populations (Australia is certainly one such country) should have an advisory body of not more than 10 people, which can be used for consultations and other advisory purposes, not only by the local GOI authorities/agencies, but also the relevant authorities/agencies in India. Its term should be for not more than 2 years.

Annual consultation between High Commission and Community: Previous High Commissioner of India in Australia, and current External Affairs Secretary, Smt Sujatha Singh, started a novel, and productive, mechanism to meet the community representatives in Canberra on a yearly basis. Representatives from all over Australia would assemble on a weekend to discuss and suggest things to Indian diplomats. Current High Commissioner, Biren Nanda, did not continue this practice. The communication from High Commission and community has been limited and confined to a small group of people, who are close to HCI. Previous practice of community consultation needs to be reactivated.

Annual dialogue between Indian and Australian leaders: Indian Australians will like to see formal and regular annual meetings between PMs, Foreign Affairs Ministers and Defence Ministers, with venues alternating between India and Australia.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA): The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be accelerated so that FTA can be concluded by the end of 2015. This will accelerate bilateral trade which has come down to about $15 billion from previous high of $21 billion. This is important as Australia already has FTAs with Japan, South Korea and China.

Bilateral and multi-lateral defence exercises between India and Australia: India and Australia should work actively to enhance their defence & strategic relations bilaterally and multilaterally in the pattern agreed prior to the 2007 Rudd Govt in Australia.

Hindi teachings in Australian Universities: To increase India’s soft power and increase the numbers of India-literate Australians, India should consider seriously funding such teaching courses in at least one University each in Sydney and Melbourne. Discussions should be had between relevant authorities to explore equal sharing of cost between Australia and India.

Facilitations of Australian Universities and TAFE to have campuses in India: Many Australian institutions are ranked quite highly in various world Universities ranking systems. Collaborations in this field should be actively facilitated and encouraged, following a pragmatic and win-win module. Indian regulations to facilitate this should be considered.

Recognition of TAFE diploma in India: Many Indian students come to Australia to train in TAFE institutes. Many then move on to Universities to complete degrees. In addition to the diplomas not being recognised to the extent that the students wanting to pursue this study in Australia do not even get the education loans, Association of Indian Universities (the peak body responsible for recognising foreign degrees) does not recognise even Bachelor degrees that may have resulted from a credit transfer after a diploma resulting in the degree component being lesser than 3 year duration. (Diploma to Degree). This is a unique feature of Australian Qualification framework and so should be understood by Educational authorities. Quite a good numbers of Indians in Australia have earned their degrees through this pathway. TAFE institutes are a unique institution and it will be beneficial for India to consider recognizing diplomas from TAFE.

Bilateral Internship positions for Australians and Indians: Institutes and Universities of repute in both countries should be encouraged to develop mechanisms to have short term (3-6 months) placements for students and researchers to enhance collaboration in science and research.

Indian media’s bureau/representatives in Australia: During 2009-10, Indian media reported issues involving Indian students in an exaggerated way, erroneously attributing racism in literally every incident. They did not interact with local long-term Indians. It was harder for media to have a grasp of the ground realities. It will be helpful if key media outlets consider basing their representatives in Australia to cover Oceania. With increasing trade related activities between Australia and India and with increased number of Indians here, there could be sufficient justification for such decisions. Indian Govt can encourage media houses to take up this matter. A good beginning could be of a posting a full time Press Trust of India (PTI) reporter in Australia.

Indian Consulate in Brisbane: Queensland is an important state for Indian investment. Indian business houses like the Adani group have an important and a significant presence in this state. It is important to have an Indian Consulate in Brisbane.

India House or Indian Cultural Centre in major capital cities: There are more than 500,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, with a big concentration in Sydney and Melbourne. People believe that there should be Indian cultural centers in Australia, at least in Sydney and Melbourne. While some funding will be raised locally, a significant part of the funds should come from Indian Govt. Govt of India (GOI) Funds, if any, allocated for something of this nature to be established in the Indian Consulate premises in Sydney CBD should be reviewed and re-allocated for a center of this nature in areas like Parramatta or Blacktown, where the Indian community has a substantial presence. Sydney CBD is not a practical or appropriate site for an Indian Cultural Centre.

Overseas Indians’ property in India: Many overseas Indians are seeing that their properties are illegally occupied and face threats to their safety when they visit India. Court cases go on for extended periods of time. Indian Penal Code and relevant laws should be amended to tackle this menace.

Interactions between GOI agencies and Indian Australian community: It is often felt that GOI authorities in Australia do not interact with people sufficiently, thus leading to a communication gap. It is a common experience that there is a significant gap between what we expect and what is delivered. It is also felt that GOI officials often get embroiled in local community politics and play “favoritism” games depending on who they like or dislike. It is quite irrational and subjective. Steps should be implemented to improve the situation.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs visit to Australia: With approx. 500,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, a biennial visit of Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (The Hon Sushma Swaraj) or her deputy, The Hon Gen (Retd) V K Singh or External Affairs Secretary, should be included in the official GOI travel calendar. This will help facilitate interactions with the community and facilitate Overseas Indians’ investment in India.

Streamlined grievance redressal mechanism for Overseas Indians: Overseas Indian Affairs ministry has often not been very helpful and help has often not come in a timely fashion due to excessive bureaucratic influences. This should be reviewed and streamlined.

Exchanges between Academicians and civil Society leaders: We need regular bilateral exchange visits of academics, journalists, leaders and civil society leaders. This will help improve relations between the two countries. The scope and numbers should be increased.

In summary, it will be of mutual benefit to the community in Australia and India if the Indian government is proactive in considering the interests and welfare of the Indian community down under.

 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/14th November, 2014

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Press release on Dual Citizenship

Dr Yadu SinghSydney, Australia

14th November, 2014

Press Release

Indian community in Australia starts an online campaign to urge Indian Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi, to grant dual citizenship to overseas Indians.

Spokesperson for the campaign and President of Indian Australian Association of NSW Inc, Dr. Yadu Singh said “It’s time that Indian government grants NRIs dual citizenship”.

He further said “There are an estimated 25 million non-resident Indians (NRIs), people of Indian origin (PIOs) and overseas citizens of India (OCIs) spread across more than 200 countries. Cumulatively, they contributed about $70 billion in remittances to India in 2013-14”.

“The recent changes in the PIO and OCI cards announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi are welcome, but they do not meet the long-term demand of dual citizenship by overseas Indians”.

“The overseas citizenship card (OCC) falls well short of genuine dual citizenship. Many of us overseas Indians have been demanding genuine dual citizenship, with full political and economic rights in India on par with the rights enjoyed by Indian citizens. Former attorney general Soli Sorabjee was right in stating in 2005: “If we want to involve the diaspora, then we can’t deny them the right to vote or the right to occupy important office.”

Overseas Indians, whether they hold Indian passports or have foreign passports, have an emotional bond with India. That holds true for a majority of people of Indian heritage. When major democratic and developed countries like USA, Canada, UK and Australia have no issue with dual citizenship, there can’t be a real justification for India to treat its own people unfavourably.

The promise of dual citizenship was made by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003. Since then there have been statements from senior politicians about them favouring dual citizenship. But the matter has not progressed further. Statements are not enough. The following actions should be taken: 1. Granting Indian passports (dual citizenship) to overseas citizens of Indian heritage with full political and economic rights 2. Granting of convenient voting rights to such dual passport-holding overseas Indians as well as overseas Indians with Indian passports (NRIs), which can be exercised either at the consulate, high commission or embassy premises in their country of residence and through postal or online facilities.

India should consider taking a cue from Australia’s repeal of Section 17 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 that took effect from April 2002 permitting dual citizenship.

Dr Singh also said “It is important for second and subsequent generations of Indians, besides first generation, to stay emotionally and politically connected with India. Dual citizenship will make it more likely that this will happen”.

Prime Minister Modi has the political capital, strength in the Parliament and the goodwill for/from the overseas Indians, who supported him massively, to get the Parliament to grant dual citizenship to Overseas Indians.

The campaign has just started from Australia. It has created great excitement in Indian community. It is gaining momentum and it will get enthusiastic support from Indian diaspora all over the world, particularly United States of America, Canada, UK and Australia. It will continue to be run until India sees merits in granting dual citizenship.

Dr. Singh said “I will make an appeal to PM Modi personally if there is an opportunity to meet him”.

Appeal is run via Change.org (https://www.change.org/p/the-honorable-sri-narendra-modi-appeal-to-grant-dual-citizenship-to-overseas-indians and Social media (www.facebook.com/IndianDualCitizenship)

Further comment: Dr Yadu Singh, dryadusingh@gmail.com +61 413 375 669

G20 Finance ministers meeting in Cairns, 20-21 Sept, 2014 made some very important policy decisions!

24rd Sept, 2014

G20 meeting of Finance ministers and Central Banks Governors on 20-21 Sept, 2014 at Cairns was an important meeting. It made many policy commitments, which, if implemented, will help the world economy significantly.

G20 is the group of 20 important nations comprising of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

It has the 85% of the global GDP and 75% of the global trade.

This G20 meeting was chaired by Joe Hockey, Australian Treasurer. Indian Trade minister, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman attended the meet. Reserve Bank of India Governor, Mr Raghuram Rajan also attended it. Finance minister, Arun Jaitley, could not attend it due to illness.

It has put out a communique at the end of the meet. Link is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2763870/TEXT-Communique-G20-Finance-Ministers-Central-Bankers-meeting.html

Salient outcome of the meeting:

  • More than 900 policy initiatives, most of them new
  • plans/policies to increase global GDP by 2% by 2018
  • Plans/policies add $US2 trillion to global economy by 2018
  • Plans to create millions of jobs
  • Plans/policies to boost infrastructure investment, with creation of database to match quality projects and investors
  • Labour market reform
  • Policies to curb tax avoidance and evasion ie  “black money”

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) action plan requires a commitment to finalising all action items in 2015. G20 meeting endorsed the finalised global Common Reporting Standard for automatic exchange of tax information on a reciprocal basis, providing an ability to tackle and deter cross-border tax evasion.  Information exchange on this will begin automatically between each other and with other countries by 2017,  subject to the completion of necessary legislative procedures.

Black money is a significant problem for many countries. India is a particular victim, but is not alone in this category.  Curbing black money and bringing it back should help the national economies and their people. It is reported (http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/sep/03/one-g20-cracking-down-corruption) that “black money” costs poorer countries a trillion dollars annually.

These policy decisions are good, but only time will tell whether each country implements them fully. Past experience suggests that the implementation of such decisions is less than desired.

Based on information from G20 Information Centre of University of Toronto (http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/), Australia implemented only 69% of its commitments, China 50%, and Saudi Arabia only 47%, after last year’s G20 summit in St Petersburg. Obviously, it will be better if these numbers are in the range of 90-100% bracket.

IMF-OECD expertise will be available to the member nations to monitor implementation of these policy commitments.

G20 Leaders’ summit is due to be held in Brisbane on 15-16th Nov, 2014. Indian Prime minister, Narendra Modi is attending this meeting. This will be the first visit to Australia by an Indian PM in the last 26 years. Late Sri Rajiv Gandhi was the last Indian PM who visited Australia.

 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney, Australia

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Politics, political parties and Indian Australian community!

 

Sydney, 1st Sept, 2014Australian Flag

There are over 150,000 people of Indian heritage in NSW and 500,000 people Australia wide. Ours is an increasingly important community politically. In Western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, there are constituencies, where Indian Australians constitute more than 10% of total votes. Our votes can decide the outcome in many marginal seats.

It is no wonder that political parties are reaching out to Indian Australian community actively. It started with Parliamentary friends of India during previous NSW Govts led by Nathan Rees/Kristina Keneally, followed by Liberal Friends of India formed about one year ago. Similar groupings are in existence federally and Victoria in one or the other form.

While there is no doubt that we are important electorally, the thrust from political parties has been to deal with us only symbolically, not substantially. Except for the recent pre-selection of an Indian Australian in Seven Hills seat, there is no sign of any efforts from any political party to preselect anyone from our community for any of safe seats. If any of us is ever preselected, it is generally for those seats where there is no chance of us winning. ALP’s Harmohan Walia contesting a safe Liberal seat of Mitchell some years ago and inclusion of Bhupinder Chhibber in the Senate list from ALP last year, albeit at a lower and unwinnable spot, are two classical examples. There was no chance of them winning. Similar examples are there from Liberal side too. These are examples of tokenism.

Over the years, our community dynamics have been changing. Indians have been migrating to Australia in big numbers. India has been the top source of migrants over the last few years. Many of us have been joining political parties too, but still not in sufficient numbers.

Prior to 1990s, Indians were big on supporting ALP. Smart marketing and outreach by ALP created an impression that ALP was more favourable and friendly to ethnic migrants. Prime Ministers, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, were liked by Indians and other ethnic communities. Liberal Party leader, John Howard, before he became the Prime Minister, had the baggage of his comment against Asian migration in 1980s, which created some significant concerns regarding his stand towards ethnic migrants. It lingered on even after he admitted that his statement was a mistake. Unfortunately, this impression became further re-enforced in our minds when we saw the excessively harsh commentary, actions and sanctions by Australia against India after 1998 nuclear tests. Indian army officers were expelled from Australia overnight. The tone and the contents of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer’s statements were particularly terse. It created a serious damage to India-Australia relations. Things changed quite favourably for Liberal party though when PM John Howard declared that Australia would sell Uranium to India in 2007, while ALP persisted with its policy of ban to sell Uranium to India, until Martin Ferguson and PM Gillard led campaign to reverse the ban succeeded at the end of 2012.

Today, there are almost equal supporters in our community for ALP and Liberal Party, although ALP supporters may have an edge. This support has been determined by variety of factors, which did include Uranium issue in the past. With changed dynamics of our community now however, economic management, policy on asylum seekers and business-friendly policies are playing a big role in our attitudes towards political parties. Quite a good number of our people are in small businesses. Younger members of our community are driven more by market economy than socialist ideas. After all, India has been an open and market-based economy since 1991, which has exposed our younger people, before they migrated, to market and open economy.

ALP and our community: There is a significant contingent of ALP supporters in our community, based largely in Western suburbs. They take part in ALP-supporting events through the year and during elections. ALP Premiers used to take some community members with them while taking trade delegations to India, thus giving an impression of inclusion. Subcontinent Friends of Labor was an initiative from NSW ALP HQ, which was provided full support by ALP top leaders to make it known and popular in the community. Grants to various temples and community groups was one of the strategy to win support. This has its advantages and disadvantages. This group is not as strong now as it was during ALP Govts in NSW and Canberra for obvious reasons. Its biggest drawback was its attempts to go against some sub-continental candidates like Susai Benjamin, as part of Right faction Vs Left faction battle. This was seen too during Bill Shorten Vs Anthony Albanese ALP leadership contest last year. This was not smart by any means, because it weakened and divided ALP members from Indian sub-continent significantly. On the positive side, ALP at least in NSW has a better strategy to communicate its stands and policies by emails to not only ALP members, but also other community members who are not ALP members. As Indians constitute a very big proportion of Indian sub-continental people in NSW and since interests of India are quite different from interests of other countries in the Indian sub-continent, it is preferable, in my view, to go for Labor Friend of India. Utopian socialist idea of Indian sub-continental unity or brotherhood is a myth, impractical and is never going to work.

Liberal Party and our Community: Prior to 2011 NSW State elections, then Leader of Opposition, Barry O’Farrell, was seen literally in every community event, but it changed dramatically once Liberal Party formed the Govt. Premier, Barry O’Farrell chose to rely only on one Indian who, in effect, had hardly any networking within the community, and did not help Liberals get many votes. Until election, he was virtually unknown. Indians were perplexed why he was being promoted on behalf of Liberal Govt in NSW. Premier O’Farrell ignored even Australia India Business Council (AIBC) when visiting India with trade delegations. Our community formed a clear and wide-spread perception that Indian community was actively distanced from NSW Govt either as a default or design. It indeed caused a substantial ill-feeling towards Liberal Party and NSW Govt. This was conveyed to local MPs, but they were either unwilling or, more likely, unable to do anything about it due to the fact that everything was driven from the former Premier’s office. Current Premier, Mike Baird, is much more inclusive, which is a welcome change and is already generating some goodwill. A lot more however needs to be done to overcome the damage. Time only will tell whether there is a real directional change under current Premier. Liberal Friends of India (LFI) is a good initiative but it has lost its charm or the enthusiasm lately. It needs to be reinvigorated. There was a time when  we saw one more body of the similar type with the name of  “Liberal friends of the subcontinent”  doing some events in Western Sydney. This created some considerable confusion. I am not sure what is IRS status now. LFI also needs participation from top ministers and must allow membership of even those community members who are Liberal-minded but are not members of Liberal party. It should not just be a mechanism to raise funds for the party. Its Chairman should be a key Minister with Executive Committee comprising of key Liberal-inclined community members, irrespective of their Liberal Party membership status. LFI needs to be reformed and relaunched.

Parramasala, an initiative of Keneally NSW Labor Govt, is indeed a good idea, and I am happy to see that current Liberal NSW Govt has decided to continue funding it. I went to its launch only a few days ago, and noticed things which could have been done better. Ministerial Consultative Committee (MCC) for Indian community has been dissolved, like other MCCs, but there is a need to have some form of Advisory Body from our community for regular consultations, discussions and interactions between our community and the Govt.

NSW Friends of India: Like USA and some European countries, there is a need for such groups in Australia. It should be a bipartisan phenomenon, with key ministers, MPs, journalists, businesses and community members, with year-round activities involving lectures, debates and discussions. A group like this may not get enthusiastic support from the Govt, but we, as the community, should push for it. After all, there are bonafide pro-India people in all political parties, businesses and media.

Our community’s participation: It is also true that many of us do not join political parties in sufficient numbers. This should change. Australia is our country too, and we ought to take part in its processes in all shapes and forms. We get a chance to do so pretty actively if we are part of political parties. Only then, we will be able to go for pre-selections and elections to reach Parliaments. After all, quota system is not a good idea generally, and it is better to compete fairly and frankly. If we are not inclined to join main political parties, we can consider forming or being a part of issues-based groups like “Voice of the West” focusing on Western suburbs to advance our political interests and ideas.

While at it, it will not be out of place to point out that we need to interact, collaborate and network with  members irrespective of their party or political affiliations and inclinations, when it comes to our common interests for the community. Just because someone is a member of ALP or Liberal party does not mean he or she is an enemy for those who are in opposing camps. There is no need or justification to badmouth or run an undermining campaign only because of someone’s political affiliation or inclination.

An edited version of my write-up was published by The Indian Sun newspaper recently. (http://www.theindiansun.com.au/top-story/australian-political-parties-indian-community/)

 

Dr Yadu Singh

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3rd September is Australian flag day!

Sydney, 2nd Sept, 2014

3rd September is Australian Flag day.

australian_flag_download

A brief history is as follows.australian_flag_flying_download

Australian Flag was selected after an international competition in which 32823 people participated. 5 people, 2 of them teenagers, were the co-winners of this competition and shared the prize of £200. It was first flown at the Exhibition Building, the site of Commonwealth Parliament  in Melbourne at that time,  by the first Prime Minister of Australia, The Rt Hon Sir Edmund Barton, on 3rd Sept, 1901. As you know, Australia has been a federation since 1901.

Australian flag has the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star (just below the Union jack, representing Federation of 6 States and territories)  and the Southern Cross (representing our geography). Constellation of 5 stars (Southern Cross) can only be seen from Southern Hemisphere.

A few points to be noted.

1. The Flag should be raised after Sunrise and lowered before Sunset. The Flag can be flown in the night if there is sufficient illumination, like it is in Federal Parliament in Canberra.

2. When the Flag is raised or lowered, everyone should face the Flag, be silent and people in Uniform should salute the Flag.

3. The flag should always be flown freely and as close as possible to the top of the flagpole with the rope tightly secured.

4. Unless all national  flags are raised and lowered simultaneously, the Australian National Flag should be raised first and lowered last

5. When the Australian National Flag is flown with flags of other nations, all flags should be the same size and flown on flagpoles of the same height

6. When flying with only one other national flag, the Australian National Flag should fly on the left of a person facing the flags.

7. The flag should not be flown upside down.

8.The Australian National Flag should not normally be flown in aposition inferior to any other flag or ensign and should not be smaller than any other flag or ensign.

9. The flag should be used in a dignified manner and reproduced completely and accurately.

10. It should not be defaced by overprinting with words or illustrations.

11. Other objects in displays should not cover the flag.

12. All symbolic parts of the flag should be identifiable.

I am celebrating Australian Flag Day on 3rd September, 2014 by making Australian Flag as my profile pic in my social media for the day. I encourage everyone to do the likewise.

Dr Yadu Singh

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