Election times in India are different to what we have here in Australia. In India, without fail, the references to Pakistan’s Machiavellian intentions to destabilize India start to surface in common parlance of leaders from the BJP side while the Congress without exception intensifies its attack on the BJP for stoking Hindu-Muslim divide whether they have reasons to do so or not. But here in Australia, with election 2022 as you see in Victoria, there is no such threat from any neighboring country or the problems of any communal tensions locally, the leaders have no such luxury. Instead, they have to dust off their policy announcement files, embellish the dollar figures, unlike Indian politicians, put in some effort to make some semblance of sense to their potential announcements and – of course – reach out to the voters. Thus, poor leaders even have to take to ‘roti making.
That – of course – being the multicultural society we are – includes visits to various communities and their facilities – which are also – invariably – part of the new announcements every time with funds allocated to – upgrade, re-locate, expand or even re-invent as the requirements of the particular group or organization may be.
There are of course – the over-arching questions – which the mainstream voters are interested in to decide who to vote for – like the cost of living pressures, rising energy bills, inflations and the all-important health system.
And when our leaders visit migrant communities, the most multicultural theatre happens. This is in addition to kissing babies, teaching babies, doing drawing with babies at school and so on.
What caught my eyes this time was to notice – both leaders – Premier Daniel Andrews and his challenger Opposition leader Matthew Guy – both have been clicked ‘making rotis’. Premier Andrews did his stint at the Sri Durga Temple in Deanside while Matthew Guy undertook his roti making at the Gurudwara in Cranbourne.
It is a pretty sight. It feels they respect our culture and have no qualms being part of it. It is bipartisan and that is even a bigger bonus.
But interestingly, these visits are few and far between. They follow the election cycle and that is it.
Maybe our community leaders should come up with more opportunities for our leaders to visit.
Let us get back to election 2022.
Both parties are attempt to woo the voters saying they are aware of the voters’ cost of living pressures, state’s health system being under pressure including the six triple Zero system, inflation, wages falling behind and so on.
Both sides have come up with policies aimed at alleviating some of that pain.
Labor party’s Energy Bonus of $250 dollars, Sick Pay Guarantee and the bringing back of or re-establishing state’s own energy system, Training and bringing nurses and health professionals from overseas to cope with the ailing health system are only few of the measures announced by Labor.
On the other hand, the Liberals have also announced to recruit additional 40,000 nurses and midwives. They have announced to halve the elective surgery list. Matthew Guy announced – under his government, if he is elected on November 26, $235 would be cut from household electricity bills in the New Year – for first six months.
Where the two parties – majorly differ is the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) – which seems to be Labor’s much publicized project and perhaps a personal favourite of Premier Daniel Andrews. The Opposition has – publicly announced that it will, if elected, not only scrap the project but put all the money saved into fixing the health system.
‘Fixing the state’s health system is my absolute priority’, Matthew Guy told Bharat Times in an exclusive interview. (See page – ******)
The Liberals announced almost $1 million for the Indian community in Ballarat while Premier Andrews announced $10 million for the India community infrastructure of which $5 million will be allocated for 2 Indian community centres – one in Melbourne’s West and the other in the South east.
Realising the might of the local Indian community, both parties are committing resources to woo the local Indians. Leaders from both sides have visited many Indian community organizations, temples, Gurudwaras etc. and there will be a lot more until November 26.
During this election 2022 campaigning, you may witness leaders doing your own ‘Indian’ thing when they come around to see you. They need your precious vote, you can’t blame them.
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