Election 2016 : The countdown for Political Power begins

Election 2016 : The countdown for Political Power begins

The judgment day for the political parties that can transform the face of Australia is just a month away. Ahead of the 2016 elections, the stage is laid for the two political parties, Liberal Party of Australia and Australian Labor Party where they have made their stands clear about some of the issues the community is grappling with and a lot more. Straight from the ministerial dais:

From the Prime Minister’s Desk

primeministerMalcolm Turnbull

1) There is a widespread unemployment and underemployment within the Sub Continent community. What will you and your party do fix this problem?

The most effective way to tackle unemployment and underemployment is through strong economic growth. The Coalition’s Plan for a Strong new Economy will provide growth, jobs and a secure future for all Australians. Since the Coalition came to office in September 2013, more than 450,000 jobs have been created.

Our Economic Plan is expected to deliver a further 200,000 new jobs for Australian workers in 2016-17. As Australia transitions to a more diversified economy, it is critical to ensure that young people have the opportunity to work. That’s why the Government is investing $840 million in an innovative Youth Employment Package to help up to 120,000 young people over four years into work. The Government has created a new Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) Programme for young people. The Youth Jobs PaTH responds directly to business feedback that more needs to be done to increase young people’s employability and to provide them with real work experience.

2) There is a fear amongst the newly arrived migrants that their children will wind up paying $100,000 for a university degree. Do you support this de-regulation of the university courses and also where does your party stand when it comes de regulation of the university?

The Government has made it very clear that we will not proceed with the deregulation of university fees announced in the 2014-15 Budget. The Coalition is also committed to the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) which means no domestic undergraduate student has to pay up-front fees. Students only have to pay their loans back when they are earning more than $54,000.

The Coalition is also committed to ensuring international students who come to Australia receive a world-class education and unique and positive student experience. Through our $12 Million National Strategy for International Education 2025 we will improve support services as well as affordable and convenient accommodation and public transport. We will also facilitate work opportunities and ensure international students can work while studying.

The Coalition Government is investing a record $16 billion in Australian higher education in 2016, rising to more than $20 billion in 2019.

3)There is widespread problem of domestic violence within the sub-continent community? What is your understanding of domestic violence within the sub-continent community?

What is your party’s policy towards domestic policy? What does your party intend to do about dowry related issues?

My Government recognises the scourge of domestic violence. I can tell you that we understand the importance of having zero tolerance for violence against women and children. We recognise, too, that this is a gender equality issue, because while not all disrespect of women leads to violence against women, that’s where all violence begins.

Women and children in Australia must be safe in their homes, safe on our streets and safe online. Domestic and family violence is never acceptable. The Coalition Government is taking immediate and practical action on domestic violence focussed on three key areas: keeping women safe at home; support and training for frontline services; and breaking the cycle of violence.

Innovative technology is being trialled and used to keep women safe, including GPS trackers for perpetrators, safe phones and safety devices for homes. We are expanding support to counselling services such as 1800 RESPECT and Mensline. And training is being expanded for frontline workers, including police, doctors, emergency department staff and social workers. Domestic violence units are being established in legal services.

The Budget committed an additional $100 million for domestic violence measures, including specialist DV units around the country and new technologies to assist women experiencing domestic violence. In addition, we have, in conjunction with the states and territories, launched a powerful national information campaign to change attitudes about violence and disrespect.

No Commonwealth government has ever invested as much in this important area. The Coalition does not support the provision of dowries in Australia as the exchange of money and gifts for marriage can contribute to family and domestic abuse.

4) There is a group of sub-continent migrants who are about to retire and some will soon require nursing home what is your party’s position towards CALD nursing homes?

The Coalition is continuing to ensure the sustainability of the aged care system into the future. We are committed to ensuring that the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of all Australians is respected and appropriately reflected in the services they receive. The Coalition is also ensuring that older people and their families who want to know about their aged care options receive timely support by investing $136.6 million in the My Aged Care website and contact centre.

We will also ensure that the highest levels of funding and support go to those with the greatest needs. Residential care funding will continue to grow by 5.1% annually, over the forward estimates in the 2016-17 Budget.

5) What is your impression of the sub- continent with Australia?

The Coalition strongly values the contribution the Indian community in Australia makes to our successful multicultural society. Indian Australians have contributed much to the economic, social and cultural life of Australia. The Indian community is renowned for its commitment to hard work, enterprise, community spirit and building strong families. India is at the forefront of Australia’s international partnerships. India is the fastest growing large economy in the world and has huge potential. Our economic relationship has grown strongly in recent years and the Coalition Government is committed to build on this by concluding a Closer Economic Cooperation Agreement with India.

The Australia-India CEO Forum enables businesses from both countries to engage directly on ways to build our trade and investment relationship and the Australia-India Council is working successfully to increase knowledge and understanding between our people and institutions. These connections are nurtured by India’s standing as Australia’s largest source of skilled migrants and second-largest source of international students.

Australia and India share a commitment to respect for international law and international norms, democracy and fundamental human rights. The Turnbull and Modi government are working well together to build regional institutions and to deepen our defence dialogue.

6) Your take on Border protection force.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has been integral to the Coalition Government’s border protection success. The ABF is a single, integrated, frontline operational border entity within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that is charged with enforcing customs and immigration laws and protecting Australia’s borders. The ABF brings together the people, capability and systems from across the immigration portfolio to better protect the border and facilitate the lawful passage of people and goods.

In an environment of ongoing growth in trade and travellers to Australia, the ABF ensures Australia has the capability at the border to manage this growth effectively and efficiently. I rejoice in the vibrant diversity of our migrant nation. But we cannot be under any illusions about what our multicultural success is built upon. The reason Australians welcome high levels of immigration – the highest since the early post war period – is that we have confidence that our government is in control of our immigration program, deciding who can come here and ensuring that when they do they receive the support needed to integrate into Australian societies.

We’ve seen elsewhere what happens when nations lose control of their borders and fail to invest in the integration of migrants who arrive. And tragically, in our own country, we only have to look to the previous Labor government when a collapse of border security emboldened 50,000 individuals to entrust their lives to people smugglers.

When the Howard government lost office in 2007 there was not one single child in detention. Within five years, the number of children who arrived by boat in detention peaked at nearly 2000. Now, after three years of a Coalition government, that number is zero. There has not been a single unauthorised asylum seeker vessel arrive for more than 660 days. Our borders are secure, the people smugglers have been thwarted and the families on whom they prey are not getting on leaky boats to come to Australia in what was a perilous and often fatal venture.

Australia has settled more than 850,000 refugees since World War II. They and their offspring have helped make us what we are. We cannot imagine modern Australia without their contribution. But our refugee programs have not succeeded by accident. We make considerable investments in settlement services – teaching English and helping bridge what, for many, is a very difficult transition.

Secure borders and a well-managed migration system are the bedrock of confidence on which our successful multicultural society is built.

From the Leader of the Opposition

primeminister12Bill Shorten

Diversity is our greatest strength 

Australia is a vibrant multicultural nation that has been enriched by the contribution of migrants.

We are one of the most diverse societies in the world.

This was no accident and has been the result of hard work. We cannot stop now. Promoting social cohesion and economic inclusion will see the multicultural dividend grow into the future.

 

The Indian community has played a big role in this success. They have touched every aspect of Australian life – be it their culture, music, cuisine or language.

Their greatest contribution has been themselves and as a community they have made us better and stronger collectively through their hard work and dedication.Our diversity is what makes us great and we will continue to do our best to care for every family who calls Australia home.

That is why a Shorten Labor Government will renew investment in Australian multiculturalism.

We’ll invest $28.3 million in new funding to help strengthen our multicultural communities and encourage greater participation and inclusiveness. It’s essential that we fight for equal opportunity for all Australians, regardless of where one’s from.

This funding will help improve our cohesion, celebrate our diversity and make sure the most vulnerable within our community are supported. Labor knows how valuable migrants are to our social and economic fabric.We also know the ability to speak English is the single most important factor in getting a job.

By funding migrant support properly in the short term, Australia will be better off over the long term. We need to improve our programs and policies to ensure new migrants have the support the need to successfully call Australia home.

An Office for Multicultural Affairs will be created in the Australian Public Service to help service these families, streamlining and improving future policy development.For too long, support for new and established migrant communities has occurred without the right infrastructure. That’s why Labor will invest $11.3 million to fund capital works for settlement and community sector organisations.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government, in one of their first decisions in 2013, slashed the Building Multicultural Communities program. Even after letters of successful grants had been received by many organisations, overdue projects were snatched away at the last minute.

Labor will also invest in the people who support new and established migrant communities, with $7.5 million to help organisations equip their staff with better skills to get the jobs they want.

By listening and working together, we can ensure that all multicultural communities across our great nation continue to thrive.

Unlike the Liberal Party, the Labor Party values the contribution that immigration has made to this country and will continue to champion the benefits of a diverse multicultural Australia.

Labor will support quality aged care 

We need to make sure that all Australians can access quality aged care services, including people from diverse backgrounds, whose care must be culturally appropriate to them.That’s why in Government, Labor put in place a ten year, $3.7 billion, reform program to build a fairer and more sustainable aged care system.

In contrast, the Liberals have made significant cuts to Aged Care – most recently a $1.2 billion cut in the 2016 Budget to residential aged care subsidies for residents.

You will hear more from Labor on how we’ll continue to support older Australians during the campaign. This includes a review of aged care funding.

Malcolm Turnbull wants to cut pensions 

The Turnbull Government wants to cut the pension for around 190,000 Australians by limiting the amount of time they can spend overseas and still get their full pension.

Currently, pensioners can stay overseas for 26 weeks and receive their full pension. Following that time, the pension is reduced to a rate that depends on the number of years they have lived in Australia.

But Malcolm Turnbull wants to change that, with a drastic cut to the time pensioners can spend overseas. His plan means that after just 6 weeks overseas, pensioners who lived in Australia for less than 35 years will have the rate of their pension reduced.

Around 40 per cent of Australian pensioners were born overseas. That means Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to the pension will hurt 190,000 migrant pensioners.  Labor opposes this cut.

Labor understands that pensioners have worked hard all their lives and deserve dignity in their retirement.

The last thing they need is to be treated like a burden by Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.
Liberals’ plan to deregulate universities

Students across Australia will see $100,000 degrees become a reality if the Turnbull Liberal Government is re-elected on July 2.

As part of our positive plan, a Shorten Labor Government will introduce a Student Funding Guarantee to remove the need for higher fees.

Under the guarantee, government funding will be $2,500 more per undergraduate place in 2018 than under the Liberals’ plan – an increase of more than 27 per cent.

To give universities certainty, Labor will legislate the Student Funding Guarantee and index its value so it isn’t eroded over time.

Supporting victims of family violence 

We know that victims from diverse backgrounds are less likely to ask for help, which is why we need to make it easier for them to reach out and receive the support they need and deserve.

We need to better meet the needs of victims in family violence services and targeted prevention strategies for victims from ethnic backgrounds, by creating strong support networks and greater access to social services.

A Shorten Labor Government will invest in tackling the scourge of domestic violence by funding:

  • $50 million to frontline legal services, to ensure people experiencing family violence get the legal support they deserve and are not faced with the prospect of attending court alone.
  • $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home and communities.
  • $8 million investment in mapping perpetrator activities to prevent violence.
  • $65 million over six years to 1800 RESPECT, Our Watch and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), to ensure they can continue to their work underpinning the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children that we established in Government.

Labor has also committed to provide for five days paid domestic and family violence leave so that survivors and their families will not experience job or financial insecurity and can properly access legal and financial advice, counselling services and medical appointments.

Bill Shorten

Diversity is our greatest strength 

Australia is a vibrant multicultural nation that has been enriched by the contribution of migrants.

We are one of the most diverse societies in the world.

This was no accident and has been the result of hard work. We cannot stop now. Promoting social cohesion and economic inclusion will see the multicultural dividend grow into the future.

The Indian community has played a big role in this success. They have touched every aspect of Australian life – be it their culture, music, cuisine or language.

Their greatest contribution has been themselves and as a community they have made us better and stronger collectively through their hard work and dedication.

Our diversity is what makes us great and we will continue to do our best to care for every family who calls Australia home.

That is why a Shorten Labor Government will renew investment in Australian multiculturalism.

We’ll invest $28.3 million in new funding to help strengthen our multicultural communities and encourage greater participation and inclusiveness. It’s essential that we fight for equal opportunity for all Australians, regardless of where one’s from.

This funding will help improve our cohesion, celebrate our diversity and make sure the most vulnerable within our community are supported. 

Labor knows how valuable migrants are to our social and economic fabric.

We also know the ability to speak English is the single most important factor in getting a job.

By funding migrant support properly in the short term, Australia will be better off over the long term. We need to improve our programs and policies to ensure new migrants have the support the need to successfully call Australia home.

An Office for Multicultural Affairs will be created in the Australian Public Service to help service these families, streamlining and improving future policy development.

For too long, support for new and established migrant communities has occurred without the right infrastructure. That’s why Labor will invest $11.3 million to fund capital works for settlement and community sector organisations.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government, in one of their first decisions in 2013, slashed the Building Multicultural Communities program. Even after letters of successful grants had been received by many organisations, overdue projects were snatched away at the last minute.

Labor will also invest in the people who support new and established migrant communities, with $7.5 million to help organisations equip their staff with better skills to get the jobs they want.

By listening and working together, we can ensure that all multicultural communities across our great nation continue to thrive.

Unlike the Liberal Party, the Labor Party values the contribution that immigration has made to this country and will continue to champion the benefits of a diverse multicultural Australia.

Labor will support quality aged care 

We need to make sure that all Australians can access quality aged care services, including people from diverse backgrounds, whose care must be culturally appropriate to them.

That’s why in Government, Labor put in place a ten year, $3.7 billion, reform program to build a fairer and more sustainable aged care system.

In contrast, the Liberals have made significant cuts to Aged Care – most recently a $1.2 billion cut in the 2016 Budget to residential aged care subsidies for residents.

You will hear more from Labor on how we’ll continue to support older Australians during the campaign. This includes a review of aged care funding.

Malcolm Turnbull wants to cut pensions 

The Turnbull Government wants to cut the pension for around 190,000 Australians by limiting the amount of time they can spend overseas and still get their full pension.

Currently, pensioners can stay overseas for 26 weeks and receive their full pension. Following that time, the pension is reduced to a rate that depends on the number of years they have lived in Australia.

But Malcolm Turnbull wants to change that, with a drastic cut to the time pensioners can spend overseas. His plan means that after just 6 weeks overseas, pensioners who lived in Australia for less than 35 years will have the rate of their pension reduced.

Around 40 per cent of Australian pensioners were born overseas. That means Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to the pension will hurt 190,000 migrant pensioners.  Labor opposes this cut.

Labor understands that pensioners have worked hard all their lives and deserve dignity in their retirement.

The last thing they need is to be treated like a burden by Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.

Liberals’ plan to deregulate universities

Students across Australia will see $100,000 degrees become a reality if the Turnbull Liberal Government is re-elected on July 2.

As part of our positive plan, a Shorten Labor Government will introduce a Student Funding Guarantee to remove the need for higher fees.

Under the guarantee, government funding will be $2,500 more per undergraduate place in 2018 than under the Liberals’ plan – an increase of more than 27 per cent.

To give universities certainty, Labor will legislate the Student Funding Guarantee and index its value so it isn’t eroded over time.

Supporting victims of family violence 

We know that victims from diverse backgrounds are less likely to ask for help, which is why we need to make it easier for them to reach out and receive the support they need and deserve.

We need to better meet the needs of victims in family violence services and targeted prevention strategies for victims from ethnic backgrounds, by creating strong support networks and greater access to social services.

A Shorten Labor Government will invest in tackling the scourge of domestic violence by funding:

  • $50 million to frontline legal services, to ensure people experiencing family violence get the legal support they deserve and are not faced with the prospect of attending court alone.
  • $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home and communities.
  • $8 million investment in mapping perpetrator activities to prevent violence.
  • $65 million over six years to 1800 RESPECT, Our Watch and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), to ensure they can continue to their work underpinning the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children that we established in Government.

Labor has also committed to provide for five days paid domestic and family violence leave so that survivors and their families will not experience job or financial insecurity and can properly access legal and financial advice, counselling services and medical appointments.

From the Ministers’ chamber

Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment

A large number of subcontinent and Indian community members do work in those industries where penalty rates are offered due to late night or weekend shifts. Why shall such voters give you their vote when your policy of removing penalty rates would mean thousands left with lower disposable income?

 primeminister3The premise of this question is factually incorrect. The Turnbull Government has not changed penalty rates and has no plans to change penalty rates. The Coalition’s clear and consistent position is that setting wages and conditions in awards, including penalty rates, is a task for the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission, not Government.

Labor and the unions continue to dishonestly suggest the Coalition proposes to change penalty rates. This is simply false and nothing more than a misleading and baseless scare campaign. It is very disappointing that the union movement has chosen to run a highly inaccurate and misleading campaign in relation to penalty rates that has caused some people unnecessary anxiety. Unions have a responsibility to represent members honestly and not to attempt to scare people through misinformation.

Let us not forget Bill Shorten has form on penalty rates. His former union ripped penalty rates off vulnerable workers in return for secret payments from their employer. Bill Shorten was the National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union when it entered into an agreement with an employer which removed all penalty rates for low paid cleaners, with no compensation for the workers. At the same time, the employer, Cleanevent, paid the AWU $25,000 per year and provided lists of employee names so that the AWU could stack its membership lists. Mr Shorten and Labor representatives continue to ignore the fact that Mr Shorten’s union, on his watch, stripped away penalty rates from Australia’s lowest paid workers in return for secret cash payments. This is a matter of historical fact.

Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration

Indian community requested you to extend Long Stay Visa for parents by excluding stringent conditions. This was done via an online petition. A FB group with more than 20,000 members has been formed and FB page with close to 6,000 likes. Why should you expect Indian community migrants’ votes when a very easy and a very basic request was blatantly declined?

primeminister4The Turnbull Government understands that Australian citizens and permanent residents want to have their parents spending time with their families and the community in Australia. The longer validity Visitor (subclass 600) visa allows parents to stay in Australia for 12 months in any 18 month period. Visitor visas are not intended for maintaining ongoing residence in Australia. Parents, like all visitor visa holders, are expected to spend extended periods of time outside Australia between visits. There are options such as the Contributory Parent Visa that provide a pathway for people to have their parents here on a permanent basis.

The Balance of Family (BoF) test is not related to visits, but is for permanent migration. It provides an objective test to determine the extent of a person’s link to Australia compared to any other country. There are a limited number of places for parent visas under the family stream of Australia’s migration programme. Therefore the Australian Government has tried to ensure that these places are filled by people who have the strongest ties to Australia. The Coalition strongly values the vital contribution the Indian community in Australia makes to our successful multicultural society. Indian Australians have contributed much to the economic, social and cultural life of Australia.

The Indian community is renowned for its commitment to hard work, enterprise, community spirit and building strong families and have helped make our nation what it is today. In this very uncertain world, Australia needs political stability and a strong economic plan for jobs and families. Australia is transitioning from the mining construction boom to a new and more diverse economy. The Coalition’s Plan for a Strong New Economy is supporting this transition. Our Plan will provide growth, jobs and a secure future for families in Australia.

Michelle Rowland MP, Federal Member for Greenway, Shadow Minister for Small Business, Shadow, Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism

primeminister51) There is a widespread unemployment and under-employment within the Sub-Continent community. What will you and your party do fix this problem?

There are 723,000 unemployed people in Australia.  This is unacceptable.  More than 50,000 full time jobs have been lost under Malcolm Turnbull in 2016. I am committed to full employment for everyone in Australia, including people from Sub-Continent backgrounds. This means everyone who wants to is working to their full capacity.  This builds prosperity for individuals and for everyone in our society.  Labor will be announcing a number of jobs policies in the election campaign to support this commitment.

I will also work to reduce discrimination in the labour market by highlighting how this holds all of us back.  Too many people are overlooked for employment because of their name or skin colour.  This discrimination is unfair and unjust.  It also costs Australia because people are under-utilised.

I am especially concerned about workers from Sub-Continent backgrounds who are being exploited in their workplaces.  We have seen damning evidence of this come to light in the 7-Eleven scandal and other visa scams.  Labor is determined to bring these unscrupulous operators to justice and have put forward legislation to end such exploitation.

2) There is a fear amongst the newly arrived migrants that their children will wind up paying $100,000 for a university degree. Do you support this deregulation of university courses and also where does your party stand when it comes to deregulation of universities?

The Liberals’ plan for $100,000 degrees will hurt all Australians.  Many people from Sub-Continent backgrounds came to Australia in the hope that their children will have better education opportunities than they had themselves back in their country of birth.  By making higher education unattainable for so many young Australians, the Liberal Government is breaking this great social contract between Australia and its young citizens.

I support Labor’s plan which is fair for students. I am passionate about opening access to higher education. Only Labor is committed to investing in higher education to create and sustain the jobs of the future.

Labor will introduce a Student Funding Guarantee, promote science, technology, engineering and maths, and deliver more information for parents and students so they can make good decisions about university.

3)There is widespread problem of domestic violence within the Sub-continent community? What is your understanding of domestic violence within the Sub-Continent community? What is your party’s policy towards domestic policy? What does your party intend to do about dowry related issues?

I’m personally aware of this issue and the need for specific policy recognition and action.  For too long it has been viewed as a taboo topic within many communities.  I have developed relationships with several grass-roots organisations who are providing a range of support services to Sub-Continent women, often with very little or no public funding.

I also held a roundtable with Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek and a number of representatives from various Sub-Continent groups in Canberra so they could relate first-hand the scale and complexities of the problem. They face particular barriers to understanding that it is a crime if violence is being perpetrated on them, where they can go to for specific support and the funding that is needed to provide that support. This is an enormous challenge but it must be addressed.

Australia as one community must tackle domestic violence. Labor has outlined more funds to pay for frontline domestic violence services and domestic violence in migrant communities will be on the agenda of the National Family Violence Summit, to be held within 100 days of an elected Labor Government.  From this I know there will be recognition to formulate policies, backed up with funding, to better support women and children from Sub-Continent backgrounds in crisis situations.

4) There is a group of Sub-Continent migrants who are about to retire and some will soon require nursing home what is your party’s position towards cald nursing homes?

In 2012, Labor delivered Living Longer, Living Better, a $3.7 billion program to improve aged care. There is more work to do, including respecting cultural traditions around ageing, parental support and different care models.

We must ensure that all Australians can access quality aged care services, including older Australians from Sub-Continent communities.  Continuing aged care reform must ensure no one is left behind and must be flexible to meet their needs and their families’ requirements.

I am personally involved in supporting the initiatives of a number of Sub-Continent aged care organisations, many of whom operate on a voluntary basis and are aiming to increase their range of services to residential care or respite care.  Older Sub-Continent citizens also have specific needs including dietary requirements, customs and language.

Planning for the needs of this growing and ageing community should be top of the agenda for government.  There is no time to waste while our community ages and there is inadequate planning by government for their needs.

5) What is your impression of the Sub-Continent with Australia?

Our various Sub-Continent communities play a huge role in Australia’s multicultural success, both culturally and economically.  From small business operators to outstanding academics and captains of industry, the Sub-Continent story in Australia is one of enormous achievement.

I always marvel at the ever-increasing numbers of students in schools and tertiary institutions who are recognised at events for their academic excellence.  It is a testament to the hard work of these students but also the dedication of their families.

I continue to witness the growing number of local residents from a wide variety of Sub-Continent backgrounds, particularly making their homes in the new growth areas of Greenway.  They each have a well-earned reputation for being role model Australian citizens, raising their families and making our area an even better place to live.  It is one of the greatest privileges being the Federal Member for Greenway that I represent such a diverse and quality range of citizens from Sub-Continent backgrounds, and I look forward to this continuing in the future.

Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Minister for Small Business, Assistant Treasurer

kellyAustralia’s Indian community contributes to the vitality of our Small business sector

Indian Australians have contributed much to the economic, social and cultural life of Australia. The Indian community is renowned for its commitment to hard work, enterprise, community spirit and building strong families. The Turnbull Government is committed to building a prosperous, socially cohesive nation and encourages social cohesion by fostering the successful integration of migrants into the broad Australian community. Acceptance of diversity and respect for the individual are pivotal to promoting the harmony of the community.

Our nation continues to be strengthened and enriched by our cultural diversity. Australia’s multiculturalism is unique – reflecting the reality of the diversity of our society today. The 2011 Census revealed that over a quarter (26%) of Australia’s population was born overseas and a further one fifth (20%) had at least one overseas-born parent.

There are now close to 400,000 people of Indian ancestry living in Australia. In fact, there are well over 5,000 people of Indian ancestry living in my electorate of Higgins. The Turnbull Government recognizes the importance of the ability of new migrants being able to achieve economic independence and help Australia’s economy grow. This is well documented by the fact that Australians who were born overseas are more likely to be self-employed than those born here.

The most recent economic figures tell us that 31 per cent of business operators and independent contractors were born overseas – or about 613,000 people. This is indeed a huge number – one that is expected to grow further – and indicates how migrants are prepared to take risks and are particularly well suited to the world of enterprise.

These Australians know the markets into which we seek to expand; they understand the demands of the populations we look to serve. Importantly, they have the language skills, cultural understanding and people to people networks, necessary to engage with businesses overseas. Australia’s productivity diversity is crucial in promoting trust and goodwill, as well as seizing new opportunities.

As part of our national economic plan for jobs and growth, the Turnbull Coalition Government is backing hardworking small businesses. The Turnbull Government is ensuring we continue to make Australia the best place to start and grow a small business with our package of small business tax cuts, tax discounts, and tax concessions.

In contrast, Labor has said they will tax small and medium sized businesses more. From 1 July this year the Turnbull Government will once again reduce the tax rate for small business — this time from 28.5 to 27.5 per cent. We will also expand the threshold for businesses able to access this rate from an annual turnover of $2 million to $10 million.

By doing so, about 870,000 businesses will benefit — businesses that employ more than 3.4 million workers and add hundreds of billions to our economy. At the same time, we know many small businesses are not companies, so we will extend the unincorporated small business tax discount. From 1 July the discount will be available for unincorporated businesses with an annual turnover of less than $5 million — up from $2 million. It will also be increased from 5 per cent to 8 per cent, while remaining capped at $1,000.

This increase to the unincorporated tax discount rate adds another 2.3 million businesses into the column of small business winners.But it’s not only reducing the tax rate that will help small businesses grow. We will also extend a range of tax concessions and simplified processes to small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million. So from 1 July this year, over 90,000 more businesses can access immediate deductibility for each asset costing less than $20,000. They will also enjoy simplified trading stock rules and a simplified method for paying PAYG installments — thereby removing the risk of penalties.

Labor will not offer any relief at all for businesses with a turnover of between $2 million and $10 million, businesses which employ more than 2 million Australians. And Labor will ignore Australia’s 2.3 million unincorporated small businesses all together. The Government will also continue its crusade against red tape so more time can be spent running and growing a business.

We know, for instance, that the administration of GST through Business Activity Statements (BAS) can be painful for small businesses, which is why we will simplify the BAS reducing the fields required to be completed from seven to three. We also know that finding the right employee can be difficult, which is why investing more in skills training, internships and wage subsidies, including through our new $840 million Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) programme which will match young job seekers with employers. The Turnbull Government has already achieved a lot for hardworking small businesses so far – we have extended unfair contract protections to small businesses, we have announced we will fix competition law to allow businesses to compete on their merits and we have established the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. Together with what we have achieved to date, our national economic plan will help small businesses to innovate, grow and importantly create Australian jobs.

Rob Mitchell MP, Federal Member for McEwen, Parliament of Australia

robDiversity in the communities of McEwen

We see the benefits of a diverse community in the towns across McEwen every day, one that is made richer by the contribution of our migrant population.

As a community that welcomes new Australians in growing numbers each and every year, we know firsthand that this is because of the hard work of the community itself, and there is still more work to do. Our towns and suburbs grow and thrive when we promote and encourage social cohesion and economic inclusion of our new Australians.

The Indian community has been integral to the success of this. They have touched every aspect of Australian life – be it their culture, music, cuisine or language. By far though, their greatest contribution to our community has been themselves –  they are a fantastic example of commitment to community.

I have been personally honoured to participate in many events of importance to the Indian community. Whether it be the joy and colour of celebrating Holi, attending a community kitchen organised by local Indian community members to feed the disadvantaged or the sombre honouring of the anniversary of the Sikh genocide, it is these experiences, these stories, these cultural events that help us appreciate and understand the cultural history that we are adding to our social fabric.

Our diversity is what makes us great and we will continue to do our best to care for every family who calls Australia home.  That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will renew investment in Australian multiculturalism.

Tim Watts, Federal Member for Gellibrand

timI’m proud to represent an area of Australia that has benefited so much from the growing Indian-Australian community. Indian-Australians have contributed to making our community a better place – culturally, commercially and through extensive charitable works.

The festivals, celebrations, unity of the diaspora are testament to the diversity and multiculturalism Australia is renowned for, and the contribution the Indian-Australian community is making to Australian society and Australian culture is praiseworthy.

It is our responsibility as a progressive society to stand up for emerging communities – to try and understand cultures other than our own and, ultimately, to show respect.

This year I travelled to Punjab, Bengaluru and New Delhi as part of the Australia-India Youth Dialogue. It was clear to me there that the growing Indian diaspora community in Australia has the potential to transform the relationship between our countries – particularly in growing trade and investment between our nations.

I am currently working with the community to advocate for long stay parental visas. As a member of a cross-cultural family myself, I understand how important family is in Indian culture and I want to ensure that the Australian immigration system reflects that as much as possible.

Dilip Chopra, Ex Councillor Hornsby shire, Ex Vice President United Indian Association Liberal Fox Valley Branch

kelly3I reckon we need a stronger economy ,in view of the slowdown of the mining boom a more innovative approach is needed to increase the business, manufacturing, exports & infrastructure. The liberal party

Is offering a better deal–6 pt plan :

1- Innovation & scientific agenda

2-Defense industry plan submarines

3-Export trade deal

4- Tax cuts & incentives to businesses

5-Crack down on tax avoidance

6-Funding health and education

With such programme the liberals are a better deal. Past records of Liberal Party have been good  with no boats allowed, border secured, among others. Now the community wants what the liberals are promising. This covers a good life, good living standard & the comforts of life.

With strong economy, more jobs, & better growth rate the country will be happier , richer & stronger.

Multicultural, diversified communities want unity & togetherness with better education for children, health facilities and a stress free life. I as a councillor & a local leader want our country to be the best  & it will be if we get liberals to run it.

Harish Velji, Founder Sub Continent Friends of Labor, former member of the Federal Ministerial Consultative Committee

harishThis forthcoming Federal election is not only about ideology but about the future Australia. One side there is Turnbull Government who talks about “Jobs and Growth “ without actually suggesting how. All they are doing is replicating their discredited budget announced over the past three years. On the other side there is the Labor Party who governed through the Global Finance Crisis and managed economy prudently.

The Labor Party has sound economic management and policies that matter to the Indian community. They cherish for their families a great education, total health and wellbeing, a well-paid job, an opportunity to own a home etc.

The Liberal Party; once they came to power cancelled all grants to multicultural communities. The party pretends to promote multiculturalism and on the other side oppose everything that matters to the multicultural community.

There are many people of Indian heritage who are owner operators or small business owners. In all accounts they have been failed by the Liberal Party. The party only has an interest at the bigger end of the town.

The Labor Party’s policy of giving tax cuts to the small business’ will see that still 83% of those are still getting the cuts and at same time investing in a better future for the people and the country.

From the Community Members

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