21st India Australia Friendship Fair, Blacktown Showground
Thank you very very much for that kind introduction.
Can I start by acknowledging my Federal and State Parliamentary colleagues and add my acknowledgment of Country. Can I also acknowledge the Consul-General, Mayors, local councillors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
It is my great pleasure to be here today to represent the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, and also Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Social Services.
Both have sent their best wishes and the Prime Minister has asked me to read this message on his behalf.
I am pleased to provide this message for the India Australia Friendship Fair.
For over twenty years, this event has celebrated Indian culture and has helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship between India and Australia.
On this occasion I pay tribute to the history and heritage of people of Indian descent and honour their contribution to our nation.
There are nearly half a million Australians of Indian background and they are the foundation of our deepening relationship with India.
Australia and India have much in common. The strong friendship between our two countries is built on our shared history, commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
Our two countries also enjoy growing economic and people to people links. Two-way trade is around $16 billion a year, and India is our second largest source of international students, with over 46 000 Indians currently studying in Australia.
As Australia’s second Prime Minister Alfred Deakin said over a century ago “Australia and India have much to teach each other”.
I congratulate everyone who has worked hard to make the India Australia Friendship Fair a success, and I send my best wishes for an enjoyable event.
The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Prime Minister of Australia
John, to you and to your team and to the many presidents and organisations that are part of UIA, I wish you all the very very best.
It is your daily activities, those vital people-to-people links that make our relationship with India and the relationship between India and Australia such a strong one.
Have a lovely day.