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Sikh and you shall find: Albanese’s show of respect for our growing Indian community

Anthony Albanese has donned a traditional Indian turban to acknowledge his respect while attending celebrations for the Sikh spring festival Vaisakhi and the 10th anniversary of charity Sikh Volunteers Australia.

Apr 08, 2024, updated Apr 08, 2024
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks on stage during the 10th Anniversary celebrations of Sikh Volunteers Australia, Melbourne, Sunday, April 7, 2024.  The government has announced big cuts to migration while criticising the opposition's identical policy(AAP Image/ Con Chronis).

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks on stage during the 10th Anniversary celebrations of Sikh Volunteers Australia, Melbourne, Sunday, April 7, 2024. The government has announced big cuts to migration while criticising the opposition's identical policy(AAP Image/ Con Chronis).

The prime minister joined Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan and federal MPs Julian Hill, who represents Bruce, and Cassandra Fernando, for Holt, in attending the Melbourne events, along with a Sri Lankan New Year festival, on Sunday in Melbourne.

The two seats represent neighbouring electorates which take in Casey, one of Australia’s fastest-growing and rapidly changing council areas with a population of more than 400,000.

Mr Albanese described Vaisakhi as an occasion of great religious significance to Sikh Australians but reserved special praise for Sikh Volunteers.

“During the bushfires, during floods, wherever there are issues confronting Australians, we see the best of the Australian character and there’s no community organisation that has done more,” he told reporters.

“We see them whether it be here in Victoria, or up in Lismore, wherever there are floods or natural weather events, we see people putting their values into practice by providing that support to their fellow Australians who are in need.”

Mr Hill echoed the PM’s sentiments, noting the charity’s members had “become beloved to Australians”.

“And not just in Victoria, but in NSW and across the country for living their values and helping out time after time in natural disasters, the weekly food vans and so on, here in one of the most multicultural parts of Australia.”

The Melbourne-based operation has cooked and delivered hundreds of thousands of meals across the city and beyond, up to 1500 of them per day during the city’s COVID-19 lockdowns.

Sikh Volunteers Australia delivers meals to anyone in need and volunteers often drive long distances to distribute food in places impacted by floods and fires.

Started up with 16 other first-generation migrants in 2014, the charity has grown to hundreds of people devoting their time without government support.

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