Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs

May 19, 2021. Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Shri Shiva Vishnu temple in Carrum Downs in Victoria as Indian community in Australia reels under the impact of Covid -19 new mutant that has caused untold suffering and deaths back home. Many of the NRIs have lost their loved ones, unable to visit their close relatives. Also many in the community are concerned about their stranded family members who are now being brought back slowly on Australia’s rescue flights in small numbers of which there are 9000 stuck in India. In the mean time three Indo-Australians have lost their lives due to Covid while waiting to come back.

Mr.Morrison thanked the temple President, Mr.Rengarajan and acknowledged Hindu, Sikh, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayali and Indian and Sri Lankan community and temple leaders from all around Victoria who were there, and also the leaders of the other faiths.

He was accompanied by the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood.

He said, “Namaste, Namaskarom, Vanakcome, Sat Sri Akaal. Friends, it is great to be with you today. It’s, it is with great honour that I join you here. This is the most successful multicultural immigration country in the world today.”

He added, “When I talk about multiculturalism in Australia I often talk about it in the, as if in the context of masala. And you’ll think about a 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.”

“This has been a very difficult time for Australians over the last 18 months, but not just here as we know, all around the world. And, you know, when things are difficult, when peoples patience are tested, and when they’re suffering hardship and going through great difficulty, particularly when you have so many family and friends who are in other places, a long way from where you are. It’s tough. And in those times, you don’t look to governments, you look to each other. You look to your community, you look to your faith, and it has been your faith and it has been your community, it has been your friendships that have sustained you so magnificently over the course of this last 18 months.”

Prime Minister talked about how Australia has been able to bring in 20,000 people on facilitated flights, “The tragedy that we see in particular in India, at the moment, and throughout the developing world, is so hard. It is so hard to see occurring. And for so many of our family and friends caught up in what is a terrible humanitarian tragedy, all I can say is that Australia will continue to do all we can to provide support to our friends, not just in India, but in other places where we know that we can provide some support. Our consular staff are providing support right now to roughly 11,000 Australians who are registered to return to Australia, including 970 who we know are particularly vulnerable. But over the course of the pandemic, more than 20,000 Australians.”

And said, “But we know it’s not just the Australian citizens and residents and direct family members that you have concerns for. I know that your concerns go far broader than that, and they go to the Indian people more broadly. And that is why that Australia has continued to provide support. We’ve now had our second assistance flight that has gone to India, carrying oxygen concentrators and ventilators and personal protection equipment and all of these supports.”

“I spoke to Prime Minister Modi just a few weeks ago, just over, just over a week or so ago. And he spoke to me in appreciation of both the prayers and support that is coming from the community here in Australia.”

He assured the Indian community here, “We will continue to provide that friendship to India and all of those countries that continue to be affected so terribly by what is happening in COVID around the world. But for now, it’s for me just simply to say thank you. Thank you for the great support that you’ve provided to one another.

People of faith in this country draw great strength from that faith, and I think it’s so important that it is such a protected and safe part of Australian life.”

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