Remarks to the India Australia Friendship Fair, Sydney
Posted on Monday, 20 August 2012
Mr President, Prime Minister, Premier, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, it is marvellous to be here just a few days after August the 15th, the anniversary of Indian independence.
Like the Prime Minister, I have come with some of my federal parliamentary Liberal colleagues. It’s good that we have Labor members of parliament here. It’s terrific that we have Liberal members of parliament here: Philip Ruddock, a great friend of India; Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, a great friend of India; John Alexander, a terrific friend of India with many Indian constituents; but we didn’t just bring members, we brought candidates – Craig Laundy, candidate for Reid, take a bow.
Can I say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that it’s terrific to be here with a very old friend of mine – Dilip Chopra, Deputy Mayor of Hornsby. One of the first challenges that I had as a local member of parliament was to secure citizenship for Dilip. I am so pleased I succeeded and I am so pleased that Dilip, like hundreds of thousands of other Indian born Australians, is making a great contribution to our country as Deputy Mayor.
I have been fascinated with India ever since as a 23 year old I spent three months travelling around the sub-continent – Mumbai, Rajasthan, Delhi, Kashmir and Bihar where I spent some six weeks with the Australian Jesuit mission.
India is a great country and Indian-born people are great citizens of Australia. No community better exemplifies Bob Menzies’ great phrase, “lifters, not leaners”. The Indians are lifting Australia to the heights we all want to achieve.
India is standing tall in the wider world. I congratulate India on its extraordinary achievement: lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty to the middle class in but a few short decades.
India, along with China, is the emerging superpower of the 21st century. Australia and India will stand tall together, will grow strong together and I want to say on behalf of the Coalition that we want to have a stronger trade relationship, we want to have a stronger security dialogue. Yes, we will sell uranium to India because we know that India is one of the world’s great democracies.
We want to build on that great shared heritage – the rule of law, democracy, the English language, the love of freedom which burns so strongly in the hearts of Indians and I feel so proud to be here with my fellow Australians today.
This is not just an Indian/Australian occasion.
Ladies and gentlemen, days like today typify modern Australia and as I look around me I see great Australian people.
Thank you for making me so welcome.