Hon. Craig Laundy : MP Federal Member for Reid : Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs
I’m always delighted to attend cultural and religious celebrations because I find them to be joyous occasions that unite us all, whatever our backgrounds. The colourful and vibrant Holi events I attended and enjoyed recently were, of course, no exception and I am grateful for the invitations.
Over the years, celebrations grow in size and popularity along with their communities and they attract more people from other backgrounds curious to know more or willing to help celebrate. This has been true with Holi and Deepavali celebrations in Australia. India is now a major source country of permanent migrants to Australia. Between 2010 and 2015, more than 164,000 people from India made Australia home.
In the 2001 Census, 156,628 people identified their ancestry as Indian. This increased to 234,720 in 2006 and to 390,894 in 2011. Estimates suggest that by the time of the 2016 Census, in August this year, the number of Australians that identify as of Indian ancestry is likely to number more than 600,000, including about 100,000 who were born in Australia.
This means in 15 years, people of Indian origin in Australia will have more than quadrupled in number.
I often reflect on how long my family have lived in Strathfield, beginning with my grandparents and now my own children. That’s four generations of us, and today our ties in the community have certainly anchored us to a place.
Places change and grow. They adapt and so do the people in our local communities.
Many people in our Indian communities arrived in Australia in the past 10 years, but it is worth acknowledging that Indians first began arriving to live in Australia more than 200 years ago. An estimated 25,000 are third or older generation Australians.
As Holi and Deepavali celebrations continue to grow in size and popularity in Australia, Indian traditions will be more firmly anchored into our nation’s story.
We are a multicultural nation, built on migration and today the combination of our cultural diversity, social cohesion and economic prosperity is the envy of the world.
I am proud that in this country we respect and embrace the rights of Australians to celebrate, practise and maintain their cultural traditions within the law and free from discrimination.
One of the pleasures of my role since my promotion to Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the Turnbull Government has been the opportunity to meet so many people of all backgrounds, and to celebrate the many cultures and traditions that make up our great country.
If you see me at an event or celebration, be sure to say hello.