Michelle Rowland, PM Hon. Julia Gillard, Harish Velji, Sam Dastyari and Ejaz Khan
During the Visit of Sydney The Prime Minister Hon. Julia Gillard Wins Hearts of
the Sub Continent Community
(Report by: Syed Talal, Photos by: Rajesh Kumar & Manjit Thind)
On Monday, 4th March 2013, Sub Continent Community and Sub Continent Friends of Labor were privileged to host Prime Minister Hon Julia Gillard for a lunch during her visit to the Western Sydney. The Lunch was held at the SPOON Function Centre, Main Street, Blacktown Sydney.
This private lunch gave community an opportunity to discuss directly with the Prime Minister and number of Ministers any issues that concerned them and their communities.
Prime Minister met, first individually, then later sat down and devoted ten to fifteen minutes per table to discuss their issues.
With Prime Minister in attendance were Michelle Rowland, Hon Chris Bowen, Hon Jason Clare, Hon David Bradbury, Hon Nathan Rees and state Secretary of the Labor Party Sam Dastyari.
Harish Velji, Chairperson of the Sub Continent Friends of Labor during his welcome speech noted that "One of the issues which has a common thread to all the Sub Continent communities and the other Asian communities is in relation to vocational training students, who came here as international students and their visa issues still remain unsolved, some good and honest vocational colleges continue to suffer heavy financial burden, as a result of changes to the various visa processes, contradicting English requirements from admission to colleges and universities, to work and to the PR stage is taking toll."
"The 457 visa has up an extra burden to the sub continent hospitality industry and the workers are simply not available in the local Australian community.
"This industry is struggling as they are unable to get workers under the scheme from overseas because of the extra demand placed on English when only working knowledge could suffice.
He also reminded " To those who are seeking change for the change of sake, let me simply remind you of the difference between them and us- Tampa, Children overboard, Dr Haneef affair, under proposed changes to the racial discrimination act by Tony Abbott, we will be allowed to be vilified and people required to be reported to neighbours and state police whose English is poor.
Prime Minister responded with thanking Sub Continent Friends of Labor for great work within the community and being very valuable link with the Labor Party.
She noted the concerns on the immigration issues and elaborated on the issues dear to her- education and transportation in Western Sydney.
Hon Chris Bowen, Minister for Higher Education and Small Businesses said it is always a pleasure to spend time with Harish and the Subcontinent Friends of Labor.
"The Prime Minister and I appreciated the opportunity to hear from and engage with Subcontinent Friends of Labor on the challenges facing these groups in Western Sydney and Australia.
Syed Talal and Pervaiz Khan talking with Prime Minister of Australia Hon Julia Gillard
"The Subcontinent Friends of Labor is taken very seriously by the Government and MPs. It is also a good way for members of these communities to have a day and get involved in the political process."
Earlier he noted that the Sub Continent Friends of Labor were instrumental in changing and having extended lengths of visa for parents who wished to visit Australia. The relationship developed with the Sub Continent Community was not going to be lost as changes to his portfolio gave him new opportunities to engage with community, that being small business.
Federal Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland has heralded the Prime Minister’s lunch with Western Sydney’s Sub-Continent communities as a huge success.
Ms Rowland said the Prime Minister was welcomed with open arms by the Sub-Continent community when she sat down for lunch with them in Blacktown this week.
“It was great to see the Prime Minister meet with a number of the Sub-Continent communities in my electorate and discuss the issues important to them,” Ms Rowland said.
“I would like to thank Mr Harish Velji for organising such a great event and thank the Prime Minister for coming to Blacktown to meet so many wonderful groups.”
Ejaz Khan from Sub Continent Friends of Labor giving 'vote of thanks' noted that no Prime Minister had devoted so much time, energy and delivery to the Sub Continent community as PM Gillard had.He also thanked the Prime Minister for talking about the issues that confront them and taking opportunity to meet each one personally.
Ajay Singh who was one of the guests noted that no Prime Minister had ever taken such time to meet "our community".
Another guest Maxine Salma said it was a humbling experience to be with Prime Minister "who sat at our level, talking to us as if she was one of us, hearing asking questions and which no Prime Minister would do. She has won me over."
Hon.Michelle Rowland MP, Prime Minister Hon.Julia Gillard, Host Harish Velji, GS Labor Party Sam Dastyari and Vice President SCFL Ejaz Khan
Host of the Lunch Mr. Harish Velji Chairperson of the Sub Continent Friends of Labor with Prime Minister of Australia Hon Julia Gillard
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