The recent Indian election has been of great international significance and also tremendous local significance in the Greenway community. The world’s largest democracy has indeed spoken. I note the recent win of the BJP, led by the now Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and I congratulate him and his team on this emphatic victory. Prime Minister Modi now has the opportunity to work on improving India’s economic growth in such a way that all Indians will benefit. India has an increasing role in international affairs and is in a sound position to capitalise on growth in the region, in this the Asian century. India is an important friend to Australia, and it is essential that our relationship, one between two democratic nations, continues to prosper. Amidst all the number counting, I was very touched to witness beaming live the images of Prime Minister Modi’s mother, her hand on her son’s, talking to him as he assumed his destiny.
There are more than 390,000 Australians with Indian ancestry, and a large proportion of the Indian-Australian population resides in my electorate of Greenway, with more than 15,000 Indian-Australians calling Greenway home. India is, of course, now the largest source of permanent migration to Australia. The Greenway Indian community are very keen followers of the political landscape and were very interested in the events concerning the election and the BJP’s victory. What happens now in India and in the future will impact the large Indian diaspora who now call Australia home, as of course many of their family members still live in India.
We share strong cultural, social and economic links with the world’s largest democracy. It is vital that we continue to build upon those links with the new Indian government, led by Prime Minister Modi. We must continue to deepen, strengthen and broaden those ties.
I am privileged to represent such a large Indian-Australian community in this place and it was a pleasure to not only visit India earlier in the year and to recognise what a vast multicultural nation it is, what incredible economic challenges it faces but also visit areas of extreme cultural and religious importance, including Amritsar and the Golden Temple.
As I have commented outside this place, the economic reforms achieved by Mr Modi in the state of Gujarat will transform India if they are replicated on a national scale. Prime Minister Modi has promised that the ‘good days’ for India are coming and I believe that his focus on development in the nation will set the foundation for the future of his country. I sincerely hope that he is able to achieve this for both the benefit of India as a country and the vast Indian population whom I represent.
Lastly, I would like to note that the 16th Lok Sabha has, at 61, the highest number of women members in its history. I want to particularly congratulate one of them, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Akali Dal MP from Bathinda in the Punjab, who has been appointed as Minister of Food Processing Industries. I had the pleasure of meeting her on a parliamentary delegation in Canberra last year and, again, had the pleasure of meeting up with her in New Delhi earlier this year. I wish her all the best.