You could see it as an early Independence Day gift, if there is such a thing. When the NSW Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ray Williams announced that Dr Hari Harinath will continue in a second term as Chair of Multicultural NSW, a gentle cheer went up in the crowd. The occasion: NSW Parliament’s reception for the Indian community to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day.
The oldest parliament in Australia has marked several important calendar events for the state’s Indian community, but it is believed this is the first time the anniversary of India’s Independence was celebrated here.
She also spoke about her recent visit to India, listing her delegation’s achievements in Mumbai and Delhi across industries such as IT and food which will see significant tie-ups established for mutual benefit. She also revealed that the state will join in in the celebrations planned for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary next year.
The Minister for Multiculturalism congratulated the community on Independence Day. “We see you often in your backyard; on this occasion we welcome you into ours.”
Ms Berejiklian and Mr Williams were joined by parliamentarians Geoff Lee, Damien Tudehope, Mark Coure, Mark Taylor and Scott Farlow, all representatives of significant numbers of Indian-origin constituents.
The Consul General of India (Sydney) B Vanlalvawna expressed his appreciation of the government’s gesture at organising the event. “Having served in five different countries so far, I can safely say I have not seen this level of engagement so far with the local Indian community, particularly from the political establishment,” he said.
Some 200 members of the Indian community were invited for the event, organised by Multicultural NSW. Congratulating Dr Hari Harinath the Premier said, “Your continuation of tenure speaks volumes of your commitment, and the trust we place in your enormous wisdom as you advise us on multicultural affairs.”