FIAN was mentioned in The NSW Parliament

1st October, 2015

Sydney, NSW

NSW Parliament

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW  (FIAN) was mentioned in The NSW Parliament on 27th August, 2015. The Hon David Clarke MLC deserves our sincere thanks and gratitude.

The text from the Hansard is reproduced below. Dr Yadu Singh


Page: 2955

Motion by the Hon. DAVID CLARKE agreed to:

        (1) That this House notes that:
            (a) on Saturday 15 August 2015 the Independence Day of India was celebrated at a community festival at the parade grounds, Old King’s School, Parramatta, organised by the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW and attended by several thousand visitors; and
            (b) those who attended as guests included:
              (i) the Hon. Philip Ruddock, MP, member for Berowra and Special Envoy for Citizenship and Community Engagement, representing the Hon. Tony Abbott, MP, Prime Minister of Australia;
              (ii) Ms Michelle Rowland, MP, member for Greenway, shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism, representing the Federal Opposition Leader, the Hon. Bill Shorten, MP;
              (iii) Dr Geoff Lee, MP, member for Parramatta, Parliamentary Secretary for Communities, representing the Hon. Mike Baird, MP, Premier of New South Wales;
              (iv) Mr Luke Foley, MP, member for Auburn, State Leader of the Opposition;
              (v) Ms Julie Owens, MP, Federal member for Parramatta and shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Small Business;
              (vi) the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations;
              (vii) the Hon. David Clarke, MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Justice;
              (viii) Mr Matt Kean, MP, member for Hornsby and Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury;
              (ix) Dr Hugh McDermott, MP, member for Prospect;
              (x) Ms Julie Finn, MP, member for Granville;
              (xi) the Hon. Daniel Mookhey, MLC;
              (xii) Mr Arvinder Ranga, representing the Consul-General for India in Sydney, Mr Sunjay Sudhir;
              (xiii) Councillor Scott Lloyd, Lord Mayor of the City of Parramatta; and
              (xiv) local councillors, leaders and representatives of various Indian-Australian community groups.
        (2) That this House:
            (a) congratulates the President, Dr Yadu Singh, and the committee of the Federation of Indian Associations in New South Wales on their initiative in organising a successful festival to celebrate the Independence Day of India; and
          (b) extends its congratulations and best wishes to India and the Indian-Australian community on the occasion of India’s Independence Day.

e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for India

30th September, 2015
Sydney, NSW
Recently, someone from Sydney asked me about the latest details of Visa on Arrival for India.
-Knowing that there have been some changes since, I wish to put this update with relevant information.
-Visa on Arrival (VOA) was started for 5 countries way back in 2010.  This was a genuine VOA scheme as citizens of these countries were able to get Visa on arrival in a few select airports in India.
-This VOA was extended to more countries in November, 2014 with the change that people had to apply for Electronic Travel Authorisation {ETA) at least 4 days before the travel. This was called VOA enabled by ETA.  It did lead to some confusion because some people thought it was Visa On Arrival and people can get Visa at the airports in India. Some airlines and some people made mistakes and few people landed in India with the belief that they can get Visa in India. They were turned back and asked to fly back to the airport from where they flew into India. There were therefore some adverse media reports because of this confusion. It is a fact that it was not exactly a VOA because people needed to apply for ETA at least 4 days before the travel and Visa was not possible at the Airports in India, if they did not have ETA.
-To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, the scheme was renamed in April, 2015. It was named eTV (Electronic Tourist Visa), which had the same details as VOA enabled by ETA. It is only the name change with the purpose to stop the confusion. It is not a VOA.
-The name change made it clear that eTV was not a VOA facility in true sense and one must obtain ETA before the travel.
Following info copied from Indian Embassy, Washington

e-Tourist Visa (eTV)

1. e-Tourist Visa (eTV) has been made available by the Government of India to citizens of certain countries, including the United States of America. Details of the scheme are available on the dedicated website created for this purpose: International Travellers, whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit may apply for eTV.

2. Citizens of the eligible countries can apply online for eTV (twice a year, each visit not exceeding 30 days, visa duration non-extendable) which shall be granted through email. The applicant should carry a print of this email and can travel to India through 16 designated international airports (Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Gaya, Jaipur, Kochin, Lucknow, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruchirapalli and Varanasi ). eTV is not valid for entry from sea ports in India. The eTV scheme entails capture of biometric data of the visitor on arrival at the airport.

3. Applicants of the eligible countries may apply online minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. Example: If you are applying on 1st September then you can select arrival date from 5th September to 4th October.

4. Applicants requiring help may call the helpline number (+91-11-24300666) or send an email to for any queries in connection with applying for eTV.

5. The earlier TVOA scheme which included 12 countries (Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxemburg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Republic of Korea) has been discontinued, and only the new eTV scheme described above is now available.

6. Please visit the eTV website for complete details of the scheme.

7. The eTV facility is in addition to the existing Visa services being provided through Indian Embassies and Consulates.


More info and FAQ from

Phone (+91-11-24300666) or email to


Dr Yadu Singh

This ain’t racist

Friday, 25th September, 2015

A friend of mine, Tapas Bhaumik, from Sydney sent me a Link from, which described an amusing story.

I haven’t stopped having a chuckle ever since I read this story.

In UK, Stuart Lynn, an Anglo-Saxon, ordered some curries from an Indian Restaurant. The person at the counter, who took the order, sent the order to the Chef in the kitchen, with  the word “Very mild White Ppl” to indicate that curries must be prepared very mild.

UK newspapers are reporting that the customer, Stuart Lynn, was “shocked” by seeing the receipt with the word “Very mild White Ppl”.

Ruby Kandsamy, owner of Valentine Restaurant issued an apology which says “I have investigated and can confirm it a misunderstanding. Under White ppl, we don’t mean white people, but a white sauce made from milk, single cream, coconut milk and spices we add to our dishes when a curry is requested mild. Ppl means ‘milk.”

This is even more amusing.

Of course, it is a furphy and not the correct explanation. “White ppl” means white people. There is no need to feel defensive. Nothing wrong here. It seems Ruby Kandsamy felt intimidated by the news reports, and came up with this astonishing and unlikely explanation.

Kandsamy should just laugh it off and thank media for the free publicity.

By the way, I confess that most of Anglo-Saxon people in my network indeed can’t handle hot curries and opt for mild curries. No big deal. Some like it hot, some, mild.

Guys, have a sense of humor!

It’s time to enjoy some hot curries with a few drinks at an Indian restaurant in your locality.

Go, treat yourselves!

I am off to my favourite Chakkh Le India restaurant, Harris Park, near Parramatta to do just that.

Dr Yadu Singh

Libs had no other real options

22nd September, 2015

Quite a lot of my Indian friends from overseas have asked me how did it happen that Liberal Party changed its leader.  They were perplexed about the mechanism. Things like this do not happen in many democracies.

That’s all true, but there is basically a very simple explanation. Change like this can happen in any democracy which follows Westminster system.

People elect MPs and MPs elect their leader. For obvious reasons, MPs can remove their leader and choose another leader too, if their leader is not performing and is not able to lead effectively and efficiently.

The Coalition, comprising of Liberal Party and National Party, led by Mr Tony Abbott won the election in 2013. Elected MPs then formally elected Mr Abbott as their leader, who was then sworn in as the Prime Minister of Australia on 18th September, 2013.

The Abbott Government did an excellent job as far as the uncontrolled arrival of asylum seekers was concerned. They stopped the Boats, arriving at Australian shores. They were also good at tackling terror threats. They were not as successful in the economic management and Budgets. This problem was compounded due to their failure in political communication, which led to significant dissatisfaction. Opinion polls were consistent in their results about their unpopularity. The Coalition lagged behind the Opposition for most of the time since September 2013 election.

Lack of majority in the Senate did not help as The Abbott Government’s proposals were defeated there. The main Opposition Party along with Greens and Independent Senators obstructed Government’s legislative agenda.

This could have been tackled to some extent if The Abbott Government’s political messaging and communication were better and things were explained to people in a better manner.

With repeated negative opinion polls, it was clear that The Coalition MPs will lose their seats in 2016 Federal election and Labor Party would form the Government. The most recent Opinion Poll, just 2 weeks before the Leadership Spill on 14th September, showed a swing of voting intentions against the government. This would have led to the loss 36 seats for The Coalition and an electoral defeat, if an election were held at the time of this Opinion poll.

There were repeated political missteps, so-called unpopular “Captain’s Calls” including Knighthood to Prince Philip, “Foot in Mouth” comments, lack of efficient interactions with back bench of The Coalition and micro-management of the Government by Prime Minister’s Office, which all added to the political woes for Mr Abbott’s leadership.

Many MPs and ministers did not get on well with the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin. This was a matter of concern for many. Things could have been managed, but they were not, unfortunately.

MPs and ministers were unsatisfied with Treasurer, Joe Hockey’s performance too.

Desperation and frustration among MPs was at all time high. Circumstances forced them to think long and hard and make a very hard decision.

These very adverse political scenario had already culminated in an earlier Leadership spill in February which Mr Abbott won. Mind you, there was no challenger to Mr Abbott then. Mr Abbott promised to change the quality and direction of his leadership, which would improve the prospects of the Government in 6 months time from the February leadership spill. MPs expected that this “Near death Experience” by Mr Abbott will be a catalyst for significant changes.

Seven months down the track, unfortunately, neither the Opinion polls improved nor the quality and direction of his leadership. MPs and ministers came to a realisation that the only thing which will fix their political woes is to change the leader.

This wasn’t an easy decision, but there was no other option.

I am sure that anti-Abbott MPs worked tirelessly and clandestinely over weeks to solidify the numbers for the challenger, Mr Malcolm Turnbull.

Once this was certain, and Opinion polls started telling that there would be 10% slide in The Coalition’s votes in an upcoming by-election in Western Australia, The Turnbull camp acted speedily and resolutely. Deputy leader, Julie Bishop informed Mr Abbott at about 2 PM on 14th September that he did not have the majority support among ministers and MPs. A few hours later, Mr Malcolm Turnbull tendered his resignation as the Communication Minister in The Abbott Government and asked Mr Abbott for the leadership spill.

It led to the leadership spill (Ballot) at about 9.30 PM same evening, and Mr Turnbull defeated Mr Abbott 54 to 44 votes in his favour. Camps led by key ministers, Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne and Scott Morrison played significant roles in this outcome.

Mr Turnbull was sworn in as the 29th Prime Minister of Australia on 15th September. Julie Bishop continues as the Deputy leader of Liberal Party and the Foreign Affairs Minister. Mr Scott Morrison is the new treasurer. Outgoing treasurer, Joe Hockey decided to not take a ministerial position and is set to retire from Politics soon.

With the leadership change, Opinion polls have given an immediate 5% boost in the Primary vote, which is 44% for the Coalition Vs 35%, a loss of 4%, for the Opposition. The Coalition is ahead of the Opposition after a long time. The Coalition leads Labor 51-49% on a two-party basis now vs 46-54% against The Coalition only 2 weeks ago.

Will these number improve further is something only time will tell, but this is very likely because Mr Turnbull and new Treasurer, Mr Scott Morrison, are much better communicators and have been very successful in their roles in The Abbott Government.

With this leadership change in The Coalition, one more thing is certain to change. The Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, and Australian Labor Party (ALP) will have to perform in a much better manner, if they want to compete and beat The Turnbull Government in 2016 election. The almost certain victory for ALP is anything but certain now. The Game is now really on.

As far as people in my circle of friends and commentators and I are concerned, everyone wants a Government, which can lead the nation, manage the economy, formulate and execute appropriate policies, and communicate with the voters effectively and efficiently. They also want The Opposition to compete effectively and efficiently, relying on good policies and proposals, not scare tactics and negativity. People don’t want to be taken up for mugs.

This is vital because only this will allow Australians to understand policies from The Government and The Opposition, enabling them to make an informed decision about who to vote for in 2016.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/ Australia

*This article was first published in, a USA-based News & Opinion website

Investment in Sydney Stadiums is a brilliant and wise move

Sydney, 4th September, 2015

Just heard NSW Premier, Mike Baird’s announcement of more than $1.6 billion for development of stadiums in Sydney.

This is the first big announcement about such investment after Sydney Olympics in 2000.

It was long overdue. It has apparently become possible due to “Poles and wires” privatisation, which received a tick by the people in March election.

Parramatta Stadium is the first one to get the funding. With $300 million investment, it will have 30,000 seats which is a good boost from current 21,487 seats. Current one will be demolished and a brand new Stadium will be developed. This is a great news for Parramatta. Parramatta Stadium is the home Stadium for Parramatta eels and Western Sydney Wanderers.

ANZ Stadium in Olympic Park is the next venue, which will be developed with fully retractable roof. There is some serious talk going on about the need of a rectangular format in this stadium, which apparently will provide much better viewing experience. This 83,500 seated Stadium is the biggest in NSW.

Allianz Stadium in Moore Park will also be redeveloped with 50,000 to 55,000 seats, which is a significant increase from current 45,500 seats.

There will be one Indoor sporting venue of 12000 seats in Sydney CBD.

Outer Western Sydney is likely to have a stadium either in Liverpool or Penrith. Liverpool, being the HQ of vast South West deserves to be a favourite.

There will be a single Board managing all of these venues, which will be more efficient, compared to separate managing boards for each venue.

Investment of this magnitude and nature is going to market NSW for big sporting and entertainment events. These facilities will be world class and will be better than other states.

It will give boost to hotels, clubs and restaurants, and will be beneficial to NSW economy as a whole.

I am particularly happy with the announcement about Parramatta Stadium, where work will start soon and will be finished by 2019.

Dr Yadu Singh

Anti-Vax Child care centres in NSW is a bad and irresponsible idea

Sydney, 3rd Sept, 2015

I am appalled with the news that a small group in Northern NSW is planning an anti-Vax childcare centre, catering to the children of those who do not want their children to be vaccinated. Northern NSW has one of the lowest vaccination rates.

This is grossly irresponsible and a bad idea.

Vaccination has been proven to prevent several diseases like Whooping cough, Diphtheria, Measles, Tetanus and Meningitis. There is ample evidence for their efficacy and safety. Countless children have been prevented from diseases and lives have been saved.

Anti-vaccination group are relying on flimsy and debunked evidence of no worth. There is no credible evidence that vaccination causes autism or any adverse effect.

NSW Government was absolutely right to commence “No Jab, No Play” policy, because there is significant risk to others if children without vaccination are allowed to be enrolled in such places.

Similarly, Federal Government was right to initiate “No Jab, No Pay” policy to deny family payments to those who refused to vaccinate their children.

“Under the new laws, if children have a medical contraindication to vaccination, are on a recognised catch-up schedule for immunisation, or if the parents or guardians are reluctant to vaccinate on religious or other grounds, the parents or guardian will have to produce Commonwealth forms that have been completed by a GP or nurse immuniser before entrance into a childcare centre.” (From Daily Telegraph, 3rd September, 2015)

NSW Government, Premier and Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, should not allow establishment of Anti-Vax Childcare centres in NSW.

I note that NSW Labor’s Shadow Health Minister, Walt Secord, has already announced NSW Labor’s opposition and offer of bipartisan support for a policy against such childcare centres in NSW.

I can guarantee that no medical professional will support establishment of such anti-Vax childcare centres in NSW and Australia.

Dr Yadu Singh

Labor Senator Lisa Singh deserves federal Labor’s intervention

Sydney, 30th Aug, 2015

Lisa Singh

Senator Lisa Singh from ALP is a popular and hard working politician. She is high profile too. She is particularly popular in, and liked by, Indian Australian community because of her Indian heritage, beside her abilities and leadership.

She received one of the prominent awards from Government of India “Pravasi Bhartiya Samman” for her exceptional service and contribution as a person of Indian heritage not long ago. This award is only for people of Indian heritage living outside India. Her father is a Fiji-Indian and mother is from English Australian background. She has been covered by almost all Indian ethnic media in Australia. She did reach out to various groups in Indian Australian community. She is an endearing, not polarising, person. She is an asset to ALP.

She is a member of Emily’s List and had co-founded Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation.

She is a very productive member of the Senate and is a great orator. She is currently a shadow Parliamentary Secretary.

I have listened and interacted with her in various events and gatherings.

She has had extensive political and governmental responsibilities in Tasmania, and this included a position as a Minister, before being elected as a  Senator in 2010. She was the first person with Indian heritage who was elected to the Senate then.

People including I expected her to be re-elected for the second term in The Senate, but, with recent developments, this seems unlikely.

Due to very peculiar voting for preselection, little-known John Short, secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union will replace Lisa Singh and occupy the winnable 3rd spot in the list. Lisa Singh will be at the 4th place which is an unwinnable place.

SMH article explains it nicely. ( I quote the relevant SMH article paragraphs.


“Of the 542 votes cast by members, senators Urquhart and Polley received 221 and 123 respectively, with the unaligned Senator Singh close behind on 110. Mr Short was some way back with 74 votes, with the remaining 14 going to others.

However, that tally made up only half of the final result because under state ALP rules the 100 union votes are then combined with another 100 conference delegates – both of which are factionally organised – and their combined total of 200 is weighted to make them equivalent to the 542 rank-and-file votes.

Based on a loading formula in which each union-conference vote is worth 2.72 rank-and-file votes, the two halves resulted in Mr Short jumping ahead by a wafer-thin four votes, on 158 to Senator Singh on 154.

That meant he won the third and final winnable position, relegating her to the unelectable fourth spot.”


I and many others are disappointed and unhappy with this result because;

  • it is not right for ALP to continue and allow excessive and disproportionate  influence of Unions when Unions have only about 18% of Australian workforce as their members
  • it is not right for ALP to relegate the views and choices of rank and file this blatantly in preference to Unions’ interests
  • ALP should promote and support a performing and sitting Senator in preference to an untested Union member
  • ALP should execute its professed policy of promoting women in its leadership, and Lisa Singh matter is a perfect example where this policy should be demonstrated and executed
With this all, I believe that,
  • Federal Labor and leader Bill Shorten should intervene and endorse Senator Singh at the 3rd place in its Senators’ list.
  • Bill Shorten and Federal Labor should do the right thing and demonstrate their commitments to encourage participation of women in its leadership and Parliaments.
  • ALP should dismantle the entrenched stranglehold of Unions in its processes and pre-selections. Unions are known to do a lot of good jobs, and I know it first hand, but there is no justification for their excessive and disproportionate influence and powers in ALP or any political party.  ALP will do a lot of favours to itself if it acted in this direction and gave much more importance to the voices of its rank and file.
I also exhort Subcontinent Friends of Labor to lobby with Bill Shorten and Federal Labor in support of Senator Lisa Singh. This is the time to show leadership.
Dr Yadu Singh