Prime Minister Morrison unveils statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Victoria

Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends the Australian Indian Community Centre in Aston to assist to unveil a statue of Gandhi and is joined by the Consul-General to India, Minister Tudge and Assistant Minister Wood to unveil the statue on November 12, 2021. Picture: Adam Taylor

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the forecourt of Indian Community Centre in the presence of Indian community members.  He appreciated the presence of Alan Tudge, Federal Member for Aston, and Minister for Education and Youth, for his wonderful association with the Indian community and also Jason Wood, Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs and acknowledged Matthew Guy,  Leader of the Opposition in Victoria.

Prime Minister thanked Indian Consul General Rajkumar for donating the Gandhi statue on behalf of the Indian government, “Consul General, can I thank you very much. Can I particularly thank you very much for the very kind and generous donation of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi? Thank you very much, thank you.” 

He congratulated Vasan Srinivasan of the Australian Indian Community Charitable Trust and paid tribute to Dr. Dinesh Parekh for having set up Dr. Dinesh Parekh Museum, “I’m really thrilled that it’s happening with Diwali now. I mean, it’s been happening for many, many years. But I think this is as particularly as the size and awareness, in a really positive way, of the Australian Indian community has grown. And so many things that go to Indian culture are appreciated here in Australia. And I must admit, I am a hopeless fan. I am absolutely hopeless fan.”

Adding, having recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and calling him a great friend, Morrison said he missed his presence at the ceremony, “He is also a great leader, internationally. A strong leader who believes passionately in the principles of democracy and the future of his country. And together in Washington we were, we were together in the G20, together at COP26, and next week we will be virtually sharing a platform at the inaugural Sydney Dialogue with ASPI, talking about cyber and technology.”

“Next year marks the 75th anniversary of Independence. I plan to celebrate. I’m sure you do. It’s going to go off in here. I have no doubt there will be great celebrations here, and up in Harris Park in Sydney and over there in, in the Western Australia, where I had a wonderful visit earlier in the year to be with the Indian community there.” 

He appreciated the Indian community how it has gone about achieving the Community Centre, “Community centres here keep the bonds of community. It’s just a building. Of course, it’s just a building. But it’s what happens in the building, what the building enables, in terms of being able to bring people together and to keep up the bonds of community. And the bonds of community, of course, have come under great pressure and great stress during the course of this pandemic, and particularly, as Matt knows, here in Melbourne, particularly here in Victoria, where Victorians and Melbournians have had the worst of it. And when it comes to having to, you know, struggle through and push through in COVID. And in the Indian community in particular, so many small and medium-sized businesses in this community”. 

“You know, we’re looking forward to Indian students coming back to Australia, Alan. Not too long now, not too long now. We’ve recognised, of course, the many Indian manufactured vaccines and, through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and that will be facilitating the return of, of Indian students and Indian travellers to Australia, I think soon, and already, as you know, we expanded the definition of immediate family, which I know was very important to the Indian community, who had been separated from their parents for some period of time. And I’m so pleased that we made that change, and I suspect many were able to be here and be together for family as, while Diwali was on, as well. And I couldn’t be more pleased about that.”

He paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi, “Gandhi’s life is his message, a message that endures. It’s not a whisper from the past, but a teaching embedded in the hearts of millions around the world and reflected in every respect of this building, every aspect. So, congratulations, and I win, I wish, I should say, this centre a long and illustriou

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