Impediments galore but Indians keep Australian dream alive


By Rekha Bhattacharjee

Indian community in Australia is growing rapidly. The increase in numbers is complimented with an increase in the average income of the Indian diaspora settled down under. The presence of Indian migrants in Australia is most noticeable in the annual tax figures. According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report released recently, Indian taxpayers generated a whopping A$7.9 billion ($6.06 billion) in total in the financial year 2011-12.

Indians - santram

According to the aforementioned ABS report, the Indian migrant taxpayers were number two on the tax generators’ list as they were marginally behind the taxpayers from the United Kingdom.

What these figures are telling us is that the Indian community seems to be in a rush to realise its Australian dream. Undoubtedly, there are number of impediments which slows down this chase but the diaspora members are well on their way to be counted first among the equals in this reasonably prosperous country. Racism and lack of opportunities are often cited as two primary reasons which make most of the Indo-Australians wonder whether Australian ethos of the ”˜Fair go’ is meant only for the majority Anglo-Saxon community.

Manmeet_ sharma

A rude reminder came recently as a Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Alisher was burnt alive by an Australian of European descent for, apparently, no reason. Some of the community members have blamed racism for the unprovoked attack. There is no sign whatsoever to suggest that such tragedies would discourage skilled Indians from boarding the flights to the Australian destinations.

While there has been a spike in the Indian arrivals after 2005, a large component of the diaspora living in Australia consists of international students. The Indian taxpayers are overwhelmingly male and 40% of them are reported to be in the prime employment age i.e. 25-34 years old group.

According to a 2013 ABS report, Indian migration increased “dramatically from 2006 to 2011. Around 53% of the Indian skilled migrants have arrived in Australia after 2005.

indians - garba-dandiya-2016

To give an idea about the community size in Australia, according to 2011 census, about three lakh Australians were born in India and there were nearly four lakh responses for Indian ancestry (largest group consisting of Indo-Fijians). In 2011-12 Indians were the largest source of permanent migration (15.7 % of the total migration programme) to Australia.

The social scene in Australia, which promotes multiculturalism as an official policy, is also changing gradually. A visible change can be noticed in the outer suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne. Hindu and Sikh temples in suburbs Parklea, Revesby, Rosehill, Turramurra and Mays Hill in Sydney and Craigieburn, Carrum Downs, Deer Park, etc in Melbourne are few of these religious shrines which cater to the increasing number of diaspora.

Diwali, A celebration hosted by NSW Government at Museum of Contemporary Art. Picture Salty Dingo

Diwali, A celebration hosted by NSW Government at Museum of Contemporary Art. Picture Salty Dingo

Australian policymakers maybe paying tributes to the taxpayers from India for making significant contribution to the Australian exchequer, it would be relevant to mention here that the Indian link with Australia goes thousands of years back.

According to a research made by Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, the Indian DNA reached the Aboriginal population in Australia 141 generations ago. It is believed that the Indian migrants settled in Australia roughly 4,000 years back i.e. much before Captain Cook located the east coast (New South Wales ”“ Sydney) in 1770.

The first group of Indians to arrive in Australia governed by the British roughly three decades after Captain Cook’s well-celebrated discovery of Australia, was that of convict labourers sent by British colonial masters in the years 1800-1816.

The last four decades of the 19th century witnessed a large number of Punjabis settling on the eastern coast of Australia. Most of them settled near Most of these migrants were recruited as labourers. The services hardworking migrants were also used to run camel trains.

From running camel trains to driving luxury cars, Indian have definitely come a long way in their chase of the Australian dream.


Courtesy IANS

Rekha Bhattacharjee can be contacted at

Short URL: