A grass roots Liberal

 Abalinx 1 March 2020 Peter Adamis

Why is the Australian Indian Community important to Australia”? In simple layman’s terms it is a matter of economic security, diversity and trade relationships with India. Australia and India’s relations are the foreign relations between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Republic of India. Before independence, Australia and India were both part of the British Empire. Both are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. They also share political, economic, security, lingual and sporting ties. This is where members of the Australian Indian Community are most need to cement the bonds between the two nations. After all India is the world largest democracy that will soon rival China in population and trade in the near future.  Australia is lagging behind in its trade relationships with India if one compares it to that of China, yet there have been great strides made as a result of people like Vasan Srinivasan. A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: VASAN AND WHY THE INDIAN COMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT TO AUSTRALIA

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: “India, the world’s largest democracy, is a major power. As strategic partners since 2009, Australia and India enjoy strong political, economic and community ties.”  Furthermore. “India was Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner and fifth-largest export market in 2018-19, driven by coal and international education. Two-way goods and services trade with India was $30.3 billion in 2018-19, and the level of two-way investment was $30.7 billion in 2018. We have an ambitious agenda to expand our trade and economic relationship, as outlined in the India Economic Strategy (IES), which was released in July 2018 and endorsed by the Australian Government in November 2018.”

I first met Vasan back in the late Nineteen Nineties when he was beginning to make his presence felt within the Australia Indian Community.   A likeable cap whose canny ability to get on with everyone is indeed a skill that I wish I had. However we all have different life experiences and Vasan and I came from different Aussie ethnic backgrounds. What we had in common was mutual friends, a love of freedom from tyranny, harassment, corruptive practices and both drawn towards a Liberal Conservative beliefs, values and ethics.  

Mental Health Foundation

Vasan has also held numerous high level State and Federal ministerial and advisory briefing and liaison roles relating to Indian student violence incidents and matters of importance to multicultural policy with Victorian Multicultural Commission, Victoria Police, Victorian Government and Federal Government. Vasan Srinivasan is the first person of Indian origin to be appointed as member of the Australian Multicultural Council.

Vasan’s skills and communication abilities are such that one cannot but help but like the bloke. Not aggressive in his approach, subtle and quiet approach masks the strong steel like personality that has been honed over the years through life experiences. Happily married to his delightful and lovely wife Latha and blessed with two children, Abinaya and Aneka.  Vasan is a chap that you would like in your corner to help you rise out of the depths of despair and bring you back to good health.  A man of the moment when an issue arises, Vasan will be involved in ensuring that those that need support and assistance are taken care of.  The same methodologies and concepts are applied whenever a political issue arises and he is called upon to diffuse and/or find political solutions that are required from time to time.

During his first attempt at a pre-section for Forest Hill, he was very successful and became the candidate for the electorate. He overcame the ethnic prejudices levelled at him, fought the good fight throughout a very difficult campaign and unfortunately lost the election due to the erosion of his campaign by others somewhat envious of his good fortune. 

Vasan is an excellent negotiator in boardroom meetings whether he chairs them or not and more often than not knows the outcome of any negotiation prior to the meeting itself.  A good man to have on side from a political and community point of view and I for one am surprised that he has yet not been given an adviser role with one of the many political representatives within Victoria.  He is often called upon by many at the Federal and State level by those representatives, seeking his advice on sensitive issues regarding the Australian Indian Community.  

In all but few cases solutions are found that are compatible with the needs of all players involved and amicable foundations for compatible outcomes are the result Vasan’s input.  A very good listener, skilful arbitrator, excellent judge of character, a good manager of people and a great understanding of human behaviour and their needs. Currently Vasan sits on a number of boards and in facts is chairman of others. In short, Vasan Srinivasan is a well-known community leader who is well respected by the Australian ethnic community as well as the main stream Community in Australia. 

Recently Vasan lent his support behind the Treasure Josh Frydenberg when the Treasure was being attacked by Kristina Keneally who stated on Twitter that Josh Frydenberg comments were disrespectful to the Indian Community. However Kristina Keneally comments were laced with political venom designed and engineered by her to divide the Australian Indian community by her pretence of support.

Vasan and his colleague Dr Sharad Gupta in separate press releases indicated otherwise and thus exposed the thin veneer of political point scoring by Kristina Keneally to erode the Treasurer’s rising popularity. A copy of the Australian Indian Community press releases are above and below.

Therefore according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “over the next 20 years, a growing India will need many of Australia’s goods and services, including agriculture, education and skills training, and healthcare.”

It is of no surprise to find that: “since 2000, India’s GDP has grown seven-fold to reach USD3 trillion. India’s economy is forecast to become the third largest by 2030 (currently seventh) in market exchange rate terms. India already has the third largest economy in PPP terms and is set to maintain this ranking. The two-way stock of investment was valued at AUD30.7 billion in 2018. In 2018, Australia’s investment in India was valued at AUD15.6 billion and India’s investment in Australia was valued at AUD15.1 billion. India was Australia’s 18th largest investment destination.”

India’s post-independence economy (1947-1991) was characterised by a planned approach to development, with extensive regulation and protectionism. From 1991, India underwent a process of economic liberalisation that helped it move towards a market-based economy. For a decade from the late 1990s, the Indian economy had an annual average growth rate above seven per cent. Tens of millions of Indians have been lifted out of poverty since the 1990s. However, economic growth in the country remains uneven.

In closing, Australia needs people such Vasan and Dr Sharad Gupta in today’s diverse society. A society that will only become stronger as the threads that make up the fabric of Australia.  Politics is part of that equation, a strategic game where only the fittest survive, quotes can be taken out of context and misused by political opponents to further their own political interests.  Vasan and Dr Sharda Gupta are good example of Australian and Indian communities that demonstrate respect and support to both nations.

Australians of Indian heritage have a long history in Australia and since their arrival the economy in Victoria and Australia has boomed exponentially in all fields of work. They have added billions of dollars to the economy and have contributed towards the economic longevity of Australian and its diverse communities.   It is only a matter of time when the Victorian Division of the liberal party is able to have an Australian of Indian background in parliament.

Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Social Media Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum.  He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News.  He holds a Bachelor   of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), and Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Website: abalinx.com Contact via Email: [email protected]