Australia not a racist nation, Rudd tells IndiaJune 1st, 2009 - 4:51 pm ICT by ANI
Canberra (Australia), June 1 (ANI): Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has reassured New Delhi that Australia isn’t a racist nation, and promised that the culprits behind the attacks on Indian students are brought to book.
The violence has made headlines around the world and India has warned it could jeopardise Australia’s lucrative education sector, which earns two billion dollars annually from Indian students.
There are believed to have been over 70 assaults during the past year, culminating in a number of stabbings in Melbourne last week.
And, according to news.com.au, the issue threatens to erupt further after claims police were heavy-handed when breaking up a rally blocking a major Melbourne city intersection overnight.
Rudd today warned the attacks threatened to “impair” the good relations between Australia and India.
The Rudd Government has been keen to build the relationship with India, one of the powerhouse economies of Asia with a growing middle class that offers many trading opportunities for Australia.
During a conversation with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday to congratulate him on his second-term win in recent elections, Rudd promised Indians were welcome in Australia.
“I speak on behalf of all Australians when I say that we deplore and condemn these attacks. These are senseless acts of violence. The Commonwealth is working with state governments to ensure the perpetrators of the crimes are “brought to justice”, the prime minister said.
He promised Australia embraced its multicultural society.
“Australia is a country of great diversity, harmony and tolerance. We are a multicultural nation and we respect and embrace diversity, diversity which has enriched our nation,” he said.
“The Australian Government is committed to developing a stronger, closer relationship with India … (we are) also committed to the safety of all Australians and all those that visit our nation.”
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull told parliament the attacks were an “absolute disgrace” and “un-Australian”.
“As a country we are honoured that so many foreign students choose to undertake their tertiary education here in institutions right across the length and breadth of Australia,” he said.
Turnbull said Australia was proud of its tolerant history.
“We must not forget there is no country (more than) … Australia that has a larger percentage of its population from immigrants,” he said.
“We’ve managed to develop a broad, multicultural society with very little friction but these recent, brutal events in Melbourne threaten that peace and tranquillity.”
He acknowledged the broad contribution Indians had made to “every aspect” of Australian society.
“We could not imagine modern Australia today without the contribution of the Indian communities present among us,” he said. (ANI)
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