Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Be a part of the solution

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As new migrants settle down, they are affected by the various political and social policies around them. And we do have an option to have our voices heard, through the ballot box

Australian migrant voters.Indian Link

There are over 450,000 people of Indian origin in Australia. As of 31 March, 2016, there were 15,468,329 electors enrolled with the Australian Electoral Commission. Now, if a majority of Indian-Australians were able to and did take up their voting rights, that would be just under 3 per cent of the voting population. Admittedly, there will be a number of Indian-Australians below 18; those on short-term visas who are not eligible to vote, and those who, despite being Australian residents for a number of years, have chosen not to take up Australian citizenship.
To become an Australian citizen, one needs to surrender one’s Indian citizenship, because India and Australia do not have a dual citizenship agreement. There has been active debate about this, but by all accounts, the prospect of dual citizenship for Indian-Australians is still a bridge too far. For some, the emotional connect with the home country is so strong that they are loathe to give up their Indian citizenship, and that is their right and privilege.
But then the true cost is their lack of participation in the affairs of their new home. As new migrants settle down, they are affected by the various political and social policies around them. These policies may impact on the education of their children, healthcare of their parents, the options for affordable housing, the ease in allowing parents and loved ones to migrate to Australia, increasing incentives to do business in Australia, or to create a more welcoming Australia for migrants. All of these are issues that touch on our lives here.

The truth is, we do have an option to have our voice heard, through the ballot box. In a country like Australia, where the margin of success for political leaders and parties can often be a few thousand votes, every vote counts.

- Advertisement -

Interestingly, a large number of Indian-Australians in Sydney live in marginal seats such as those of Parramatta and Greenway. In the last federal election, Labor’s Michelle Rowland won Greenway by just over 5,000 votes – this in an area where it is often said, there are more Singhs in the phone book than Browns.
Over in Parramatta, the sitting member, Labor’s Julie Owens, won by just 915 votes. This is an area where, according to the 2011 Census profile, there have been major demographic changes in recent years – it has the nation’s fourth largest population of residents born overseas (48.5%) and also the fourth largest population born in a non-English speaking country (44.2%). Indians and India will figure very highly here.
Australian migrant vote.Indian Link
Though this election, in spite of what the polls are saying, is not expected to go down to the wire, the marginal seats will play an important role. In a significant way, the Indian-Australian community can contribute back to the system with their ability to vote.
For those who are too late to get on to the electoral rolls, it’s perhaps something to consider in the future. For those who will be marking the ballot paper on 2 July, this will be a good time to engage with the policies of the parties – both major and fringe – and think about the kind of Australia you want to live in and where your families can grow and prosper. Your vote will make a difference.

- Advertisement -
Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Latest News

trikone mardi gras 2021

Trikone dazzles at Mardi Gras 2021

  South Asian queer support group Trikone marched in this year's Mardi Gras parade held at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), and honey, it was...
parent teacher meeting

How to engage with your child’s school

  After nearly a year of restrictions placed on parents, schools have finally re-opened. Parents can drop little ones off to Year 1, they can...
david shoebridge nsw parliament

Queries on ‘far-right extremism’ raised with NSW Minister

  Questions have been asked to NSW Minister of Multiculturalism Geoff Lee about recent incidents in Sydney’s Indian community that have raised concerns about social...
Siji Krishnan, Father’s portrait 2016 (watercolour on rice paper) 134.6 x 315.0 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Indian art at Melb’s NGV Triennial 2020-21

  The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial is an art exhibition organised every three years which displays works of contemporary artists and designers across...
mitali modi with kamala harris

Shattering glass ceilings: Mitali Modi on working with Kamala Harris

  Emboldened to take action in an era of heightened political polarisation, racial unrest and an uncontainable pandemic, young Indian American Mitali Modi talks here...