26 January 2017 is the ideal time to reflect on the shared histories of Australia and India and congratulate members on the formation of the Indian Crescent Society of Australia. As two great cricketing nations, Australia and India share many things. Our shared passion for cricket continues to go from strength to strength with the Border–Gavaskar Trophy series growing in prominence each season. While we are linked by cricket we also share values and a commitment to multiculturalism.
26 January is India’s Republic Day which commemorates India's constitution coming into force in 1950 and completing the transition towards becoming an independent republic. As a multicultural country – in terms of religion, language, community, caste and tribe – India has prospered despite underdevelopment, poverty, historic illiteracy and regional disparities.
On 26 January we also remember the establishment of Sydney and New South Wales 229 years ago. Since then our country’s multicultural composition, our immigration policies, our prohibition on discrimination, equality before the law of all persons, as well as cultural policies promoting diversity, such as the formation of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) makes us the envy of many parts of the world.
As the second verse of our national anthem reminds us, “For those who've come across the seas, We've boundless plains to share, With courage let us all combine, To advance Australia fair.”