Senator Singh is in India for the inaugural Australia-India Leadership Dialogue (see media release further down) but took the opportunity beforehand to seek a meeting in Mumbai with Indian Actor and polio campaigner Amitabh Bachchan to ask for his support in fighting TB in the Asia Pacific.
From Tasmanian Labor Senator, Lisa Singh:
“I was completely star-struck meeting Amitabh Bachchan – one of the greatest Indian actors.
“I grew-up watching his films with my dad, who’s an absolute Bachchan fanatic. Australian audiences probably know him best for being in Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby.
“Amitabh was extremely generous with his time. He has been an incredible role model for the polio campaign as a UNICEF polio ambassador. He has now directed his attention to fighting TB in India and has started TV ads and billboard messaging.
“I asked him if he would consider broadening his TB campaign focus to the Asia Pacific region and he agreed to do so.
“Amitabh has immense cultural influence, and I’m delighted to gain his support in campaigning to end tuberculosis. Having previously contracted and overcome the disease himself, he’s incredibly well-placed to help raise awareness and drive action in the region.
“TB still kills 1.5 million people a year, and disproportionately affects developing countries. Of the nine million new cases of TB recorded in 2013, more than half were in the Asia-Pacific Region.
“I recently joined global politicians and experts at the inaugural Asia-Pacific TB Parliamentary Caucus in Sydney, to discuss the best ways to build regional support for addressing tuberculosis. Having Amitabh on-board will be a massive coup.
“It’s an honour to be attending the inaugural Australia-India Leadership Dialogue, starting today. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to help build even closer ties with the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
“In particular, Tasmania has great potential to build relations with India such as offering quality tertiary education at the University of Tasmania and sharing our expertise with renewable energy.
“I intend to use my experience in Australia-India relations to help build strong social, cultural and economic relationships at the Leadership Dialogue.
“India is growing to become one of Australia’s closest international partners. We cooperate on everything from education and research, to agriculture and energy.
“There are around 400,000 people of Indian ancestry living in Australia today. They’re significant contributors to our vibrant, diverse multicultural society.”
Lisa is regarded as the first and only person on Indian heritage in the Australian Parliament.
Last year, the President of India awarded Lisa India’s highest civilian honour – the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award – for exceptional service in fostering friendly relations between India and Australia.
Lisa is a frequent visitor to India. She visited India with the Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Tanya Plibersek, last year to have high level meetings about the Australia-India relationship.
Lisa was also caucus liaison coordinator for the Gillard Government’s Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, and has served on the Lowy Institute’s Australia-India Roundtable.
Other Australian politicians attending the Dialogue include Senator Penny Wong, and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen MP as well as Cabinet Ministers in the Turnbull Liberal government.
SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
CHRIS BOWEN MP
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON
AUSTRALIA-INDIA LEADERSHIP DIALOGUE
We will visit India in coming days as members of the Australian delegation to the inaugural Australia-India Leadership Dialogue.
The Australia-India Leadership Dialogue aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Australia and India and includes representatives from business, government and non-government organisations.
Australia and India have many shared interests in the Indo-Pacific, and strong and enduring people-to-people links.
More than 400,000 people of Indian heritage call Australia home.
India is Australia’s twelfth largest trading partner and fifth largest export market, with Australia’s goods exports to India totalling $9.5 billion in 2013.
India is now the fastest growing major economy in the word.
Labor has recognised the importance of Australia’s relationship with India since Ben Chifley led our party and the nation.
In 2009 the former Labor Government strengthened Australia’s relationship with India by entering into a new Strategic Partnership.
Together with delegation members Senator Lisa Singh and Gai Brodtmann MP we look forward to renewing and strengthening the ties between our two nations.