Speech – Indian Diaspora Event
Thank you friends.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet and I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
And I am proud to lead a government that will give all of you, all Australians, the chance to vote in a referendum to recognise our First Peoples in our nation’s Constitution later this year.
And I urge my Indian-Australian friends, vote yes.
It is a huge pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Modi to Australia.
In just my first year as Prime Minister, which I’m celebrating today, I have met the Prime Minister, my friend, six times.
But absolutely nothing beats standing with him on a stage like this, looking out at this magnificent sea of faces. What an honour!
And what a joy it is to get to welcome Prime Minister Modi here, with all of you.
I get to speak to some pretty big crowds as Prime Minister. But I have to say that the warmth and the energy here tonight is second to none.
I said to my friend, the Prime Minister before, the last time I saw someone on the stage here was Bruce Springsteen, and he didn’t get the welcome that Prime Minister Modi has got. Prime Minister Modi is the boss!
Friends, I saw that myself in India in March, where he hosted me with such generosity and warmth.
It was a trip full of unforgettable moments: celebrating Holi in Gujarat, laying a wreath for the great Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi, and doing a lap, something I will never quite forget, of the incredible stadium at Ahmedabad on Day 1 of the fourth test.
Everywhere I went, I felt that deep sense of connection between the people of Australia and the people of India.
It is a warmth I also felt when I backpacked around India for 5 weeks in 1991. And I say this, to my friends from the Australian Parliament who are here today, if you want to understand India, travel by train and video bus. You can even hitchhike, they’re very friendly.
It is a connection that I feel here tonight. And once again, I feel so grateful to be a part of it.
Your million-strong community has contributed so much to this country.
The people here tonight – your families, your communities – will always be the lifeblood of the relationship that India and Australia share.
And tonight, I announce that the new Centre for Australia-India Relations will be based in Parramatta.
A place that itself is a testament to the vitality of the Indian-Australian experience.
One that after last night has a proud Indian-Australian – Sameer Pandey – as its Lord Mayor, congratulations.
Now we want to see more connections – more Australian and Indian students living and studying in each other’s countries, and bringing those experiences home.
More business leaders and artists and families sharing your experiences, and your knowledge, and your ideas.
Prime Minister Modi and I have just unveiled a plaque for the foundation stone of the “Little India” gateway in Harris Park. And won’t that be good to visit.
But tonight, as Prime Minister, I want to say thank you.
You have brought the spirit of the world’s biggest democracy to Australia. And you have helped make our democracy stronger and more inclusive.
You’ve strengthened Australian society, bringing our country the benefits and riches of such a beautiful and diverse culture.
And I’m so proud that you have made Australia your home – that you see your life and your future here.
You make our nation and our shared communities better. You make Australia stronger.
Friends, I want you to give a big Australian welcome to my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.