The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) (15:13): Today, I rise to talk about the absolutely amazing
Indian community in my electorate of Hartley. As we know, this time of year is certainly a time of
festivity as the Indian community celebrate occasions like Deepavali and Diwali. We know that the
Indian community are a hardworking, aspirational and dedicated group of people and ever growing
as well. I have had the absolute privilege over the years of attending many Indian festivals in my own
electorate and also right across the state. I have also had the privilege of visiting India on three
occasions and, on the most recent visit, actually being able to meet Prime Minister Modi, which was
a real privilege and honour.
India is the largest democracy in the world and has the largest middle class in the world and,
as a country, it certainly presents as an opportunity to South Australia. The Indian community here
continues to enrich our state, and it has been a real privilege to be able to share in many wonderful
memories with my local Indian community.
In fact, today in the parliament we shared in a Diwali celebration, and I thank the government
for the bipartisan manner in which that was supported and for putting on such an occasion here in
the parliament. I also recently attended a Deepavali celebration at the Adelaide Showgrounds that
was held by the Hindu Council of Australia, and I thank them for their hospitality.
There were thousands of people there that day, and it is amazing to see the growth in the
Indian community here in South Australia. As I said, the Indian community is a hardworking, vibrant
and aspirational community, and it certainly enriches the wonderful mosaic we have here in terms of
our multicultural society as well.
I made the point, at such a celebration, that they say in India that when a child is born they
are also born with a cricket bat in their hands. It seems to be the case at the moment, because they
are doing very well overseas in the world championships, the World Cup. The first cricket bat I bought
for my son was an Indian cricket bat, and I am pleased to say he now uses it as well.
There are a whole range of Diwali and Deepavali celebrations happening; some are
happening in the Riverland, some are happening out near Murray Bridge, some are happening in my
own electorate, and some are happening in the various temples that exist around town. They certainly
present an opportunity for the spirit of Deepavali and the spirit of Diwali to be celebrated as well.
I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone celebrating a happy Deepavali and a happy
Diwali. May light shine over darkness in their life, may knowledge shine over ignorance, and may
hope shine over fear in their lives as well.
I also want to thank the president of the recent organisation, Dr Viral Jani, the vice president
Mrs Vani Shukla, and the hardworking executive committee members as well as the volunteers
organising the celebration I attended recently. We are also seeking to host a celebration in
Campbelltown in the not too distant future, and that will be absolutely fantastic.
There will also be an opportunity in the local community to participate in the rangoli design
competition. This is a fantastic initiative. You see this right throughout not only India but also amongst
Indian families here in South Australia. Not only will you see that decoration but you will also see
celebrants illuminate their homes, their temples, their workspaces, with diyas (which are oil lamps),
candles and lanterns. In Hinduism, in particular, they also have a ritual oil bath at dawn each day of
Diwali is also marked with fireworks and the decoration of floors with rangoli designs, as I
said. You can see those rangoli designs; when I am out and about doorknocking in my own electorate
I can actually see those.
In wrapping up, I would like to wish everyone who is celebrating a happy Deepavali and a
happy Diwali. I hope that light continues to shine over darkness in the lives of the residents and also
across the Indian community throughout the world. It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to
be able to get to know many of these families, to see them grow and progress, and it has been
fantastic to see the Indian community thriving here in South Australia. I wish them all the very best
for the future. I will continue to support them as long as I am the member for Hartley, and beyond
that as well.