Thanking the multicultural communities for helping and supporting each other in these hard times.
MELBOURNE, May 19: Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited the Sri Shiva Vishnu temple along with a member of parliament, Mr Jason Wood. They were welcomed to the temple with the sounds of South India (Karnataka music), shehnai, and tambura filled the air, transporting all to India.
The occasion was also somewhat a reminder to the community here in Australia to be together as one, for India, who needs our support. With the recent ban on repatriation flight from India, the Prime Minister wanted the community to know that he is with them.
Acknowledging the overwhelming welcome, the Prime Minister thanked the priest of Shri Shiva Vishnu temple. He mentions that the welcome he received as he and his team went through the temple is something he’ll never forget. He quotes “It’s been tremendous to be welcomed in such a way.” He also thanked the President of the Temple, Rangarajan, and Secretary Ratnam, for all of the work that has been put together to bring him and all together in this wonderful way at this magnificent temple and community facility.
Mr Morrison also acknowledged Hindu, Sikh, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayali and Indian and Sri Lankan community and temple leaders from all around Victoria who were there.
Thanking Jason Wood MP, member for La Trobe, Victoria Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, who he acknowledges been such a tremendous friend and supporter of communities right across the country, not just here in Victoria. He praised Mr Wood for his outstanding efforts and his passion for the job.
Mr. Scott Morrison started his speech with the salutations of “Namaste, Namaskarom, Vanakcome, Sat Sri Akaal’. He said: “It is great to be with you today. It’s with great honour that I join you here. This is the most successful multicultural immigration country in the world today. There’s no doubt about that. And that has been achieved by the many millions of people who’ve come from all over the world, all different faiths, many different beliefs, many different ethnic backgrounds, language groups, and here we all are here in this wonderful country, Australia.”
Being a great fan of Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine Mr Morrison metaphorically talks about multiculturalism in Australia as if in the context of masala. “A wonderful masala and how it brings together all the different spices and the smells and the colours. And they all come together, the different tastes, the bitter and the sweet, and then it makes something as you taste it, and you smell, and the aroma is something wonderful. And then you mix it in with your onions, and your chillies and your garlic, and I’m looking forward to the cooking. And it creates something absolutely magnificent. And this is, I think, a wonderful metaphor of what multiculturalism is in this country. And in particular, I think what the Hindu community and Sikh communities and so many other communities of faith bring to this country.”
Talking about the last 18 months, Mr Morrison points out that it has been a very difficult last 18 months, but not just here but, all around the world. Talking about the crisis during this pandemic where families have been displaced, things are difficult when people’s patience are tested. He mentions that during such times it’s not the government but the community, people’s faith and friendships that largely dominates people. People fall back to them for support. Thanking the President and the leadership of the Hindu community, who have reached out, supported each other and that people have been able to find comfort and reassurance in their faith as they’ve gone through such difficult times.
Talking about the tragedy unfolding in India, at the moment and also throughout the developing world, Mr Morrison talks about how many of the families and friends caught up in what is a terrible humanitarian tragedy. Mr Morrison assured that Australia will continue to provide support, not just in India, but in other places where Australia can provide some support. His consular staff are providing support right now to roughly 11,000 Australians who are registered to return to Australia, including 970 who are particularly vulnerable. But over the course of the pandemic, more than 20,000 Australians have been able to come home from India. Including almost 40 facilitated flights to bring Australians who have been in India.
Australia has sent the second assistance flight to India, carrying oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and personal protection equipment. Mr Morrison points out that he has spoken to other leaders around the world, as well, to provide that support.
Mr Morrison said that he also spoke to PM Modi just a few weeks ago; Mr Modi responded his appreciation of both the prayers and support from the communities here in Australia whether in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland or wherever the community is gathered together.
Mr Morrison will continue to provide that friendship to India. For now, he simply wants to thank the community for the great support that they have provided to each other. The Indian community plays an integral part in welcoming people, providing that hospitality and that warm welcome. It doesn’t matter whether it is Diwali or Holi or the end of Ramadan or Easter.
He points out that people of faith in this country draws great strength and from that faith, it’s so important to protect and save part of Australian life. So, the fact that one can come together and be here safely is very important to him. He also points out it is very important to a community to keep doing it, because from that are the bonds that carry Australia through difficult times.
It is no secret that the Prime Minister loves Indian food and make no mistake he can cook too. After the speech, Mr Morrison was invited by the chefs of the Shiv Vishnu temple restaurant to try making some Dosa. Mr Morrison luxuriously wraps a dosa for the audience who waited patiently for what would unfold.
By GDI Staff Reporter