Chand Raat Eid Festival in Sydney was hugely successful

Sydney, 14 June, 2018

I was honoured to be invited to attend The 20th Chand Raat Eid Celebration in Rosehill Gardens, Rosehill, NSW. 20,000+ people attended the event. Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian MP, Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams MP and Lord Mayor of City of Parramatta Council, Andrew Wilson were in attendance, along with many MPs and Councilors.

It was a hugely successful festival with jam packed crowd.

Congratulations, Syed Atiq Ul Hassan. And thank you very much for the invitation.

Eid Mubarak!

Dr Yadu Singh

Our team work for Keep NSW Safe achieves a successful outcome on section 20D of Anti-Discrimination Act

Sydney, 5 June, 2018

FIAN LOGOFederation of Indian Associations of NSW (FIAN) is pleased that NSW Government has decided to amend section 20D of NSW Anti-Discrimination Act. FIAN is a key and founder member of Keep NSW Safe keep-nsw-safe-logo-6.png team, which has worked actively, effectively and collaboratively with all stakeholders over last several years to achieve this spectacular result.

This will PROTECT DIVERSE COMMUNITIES from individuals who incite or threaten violence against people based on their race, religion, sexuality and HIV/AIDS status, and will carry a maximum three-year jail sentence and a fine of $11,000. The legislation will create a new offence in the Crimes Act of publicly threatening or inciting violence against people on the these grounds.

The path of success was difficult, because a few ministers were not keen to amend section 20D, but active work by ministers like Ray Williams and Mark Speakman has overcome the resistance.

I was made aware of this development by Multicultural Minister on 26 May, 2018, when he addressed a multicultural community forum in Strathfield, but was requested to not make it public. I kept my word.

It is indeed great to see NSW Government has listened to the concerns of our communities and responded to them in a positive way. Nobody can be allowed to harm the harmony among the communities in NSW. Punishment will be given if anyone tries to incite violence against others.

“The new laws send a very clear message to offenders that we will not tolerate behaviour which risks people’s safety”, Mr Ray Williams, Minister for Multiculturalism said, and we wholeheartedly support him.

Attorney General, Mark Speakman’s press Release is here. Mark Speakman press release on 20D

Thank you to Premier, Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Government, especially Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams and Attorney General, Mark Speakman for this much needed and overdue action.

Dr Yadu Singh

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW (FIAN)

Lord Ganesh is a religious deity for Hindus, not a piece of decoration on the tables of events

Sydney, NSW

17th November, 2015


On 30th October, 2015, IABCA (India Australia Business & Community Awards), were organised in Sydney.

Website of the Organisers’  is

I don’t have any issues with these awards or the organisers specifically.

Many others and I however have serious concerns about use of the idols of Hinduism deity, God Ganesh, on the tables of the event.

I outline the concerns:

  1. God Ganesh is a religious deity of Hinduism, not a piece of decoration on the tables of the events,
  2. Non-veg food and Alcohol were served at the tables, which compounds the offense,
  3. Consul General (CG) of India, Mr Sunjay Sudhir, Multiculturalism NSW Chair, Dr Harry Harinath, and NSW Premier, Mr Mike Baird attended the event,
  4. Premier will obviously not know the significance and appropriateness of God Ganesh’s idols on the tables, but CG, Mr Sunjay Sudhir and Dr  Harry Harinath should have known about the importance and appropriateness of these idols on the tables, and should have acted then and there to get this rectified.

After I was contacted by several people, I wrote to the organisers.


“Hi Sonia,

In your recent event, I understand that there were Lord Ganesha’s idols on the tables. I also understand that Alcohol and non-veg food were served for people at the tables.

Any reason or justification for these idols?

FYI, there are many Hindus who are unhappy with what they have seen in your event.”

Their response is copied below.

“We appreciate the note below, valid point and we did not think of it like that at all. Thank you for taking time out to point this to us, we do about 35 events annually and sometimes these things in busy moment may get overseen.

It was a genuine mistake as you question below, in fact it was there as a sign of our culture. Apologies, we make note that this will never occur again and appreciate you reaching out.

Warm Regards

Sonia Gandhi Director, Gandhi Creations Pty. Ltd.


Hindus in Australia have raised their concerns about inappropriate use of symbols and deities of Hinduism many times over the last several years.

It is not appropriate to use symbols and deities belonging to Hinduism, because such use is disrespectful and hurtful to Hindus.

Contrary to the claims by the organisers, I don’t believe it is a sign of culture or promotion of culture to put statues or idols of God Ganesh on the tables of the event.

My purpose to write this post is to make people aware about inappropriate use of symbols and deities of Hinduism, and encourage them to desist from using them inappropriately.

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

The strategy to encourage more overseas students to study in Australia

I was the chief of the Students’ committee, formed by Indian Consulate in 2009. We studied the students issues, held consultation sessions and came out with a strategy document. The strategy proposed then is still relevant and can  be followed with some modification.

I have continued to have a keen interest this area due to various reasons, but making money myself has not been one of the motives.

Recently, Federal Govt has announced some changes to the Visa rules to encourage overseas students to come to Australia, thus boosting an $18 billion industry, but these changes will help only University sector. The key points in these changes include faster visa processing, less strict requirement in regards to financial support and 2-4 years work visa to work in any area, after completing a bachelor or higher level course from a University.

Premier of NSW, Mr Barry O’Farrell and Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu have asked for some changes in the rules and regulations to revive the vocational education and training sector which is almost moribund now. The events of 2009 and the bad press it generated has compromised this sector massively. NSW and Victoria earn $6.5 billions and $5.8 billions from international education respectively, but this is in jeopardy due to 64 % and 90.1% decline of students in the vocational education and training sector from China and India respectively in recent years.

The whole international education sector needs a boost but we should not allow the weaknesses of previous years to happen again.

There is a case for a support to Vocational education & training sector, provided the courses considered for this support are carefully defined and approved. It should be a “course” which should be the criterion, not the place from where it has been achieved. The quality of the training and a tight control on the delivery of such training to ensure similar levels and standards when compared with a University courses will be the key here.

There is no harm if overseas students have the qualifications which Australia needs, but we should make it clear that none has an automatic right to have permanent residence visa, just because they have a qualification from Australia.

We should encourage only genuine students and never permit visa rorting, which was common until recently. Compliance with Visa rules and conditions must be enforced ruthlessly. Dependent spouses, who are not students, should not be given permission for unlimited work, to prevent sham marriages.

I am outlining the strategy with some modification from our original document.

The key points are;

1. Safety and Security 

Brief Details:

Several cases of robbery & bashings of  Students which gave a very bad publicity. 

Proposed Action Plan 

  • Market Australia as a safe place when compared with other countries, using the experience of long term residents/citizens.
  • Educate students to REPORT the incidents to NSW Police. Reporting does not affect their VISA.
  • Councils to arrange a better lighting around Railway stations, car parks and  alleys etc in the key areas with higher students population
  • Local councils to install CCTV for surveillance of crimes in the key areas with higher students population
  • Liaison with NSW Police re under-cover policing, more visibility and patrolling in hot-spots
  • Education of the students  to be street-smart and be aware of their  surroundings
  • Employers have a duty of care and must arrange them to be dropped off at their apartments if it is beyond 10 PM
  • Explore and educate the issues involving “Work-cover” matters in case of injury/assaults 
  • Some transport concession, which is already available all over Australia except NSW and Vic. It would encourage more use of public transport which might also reduce the assaults/robberies of students.

2. Accommodation for Students: 

Brief Details:

No assistance on arrival. Many students forced to share crowded apartments and Poor treatment by rental agents 

Proposed Action Plan 

  • Education providers should take responsibility for a minimum 6 months accommodation which can be organised at the market rate. Fees can include the rent for such accommodation.  
  • Lobby with Immigration regarding  this requirement [Visa must not be issued unless accommodation confirmed]

 3. Quality of training:  

Brief details:  

Many students are exposed to poor quality of training by educational service providers & shady, shonky or bogus institutions. 

Proposed action plan: 

  • Accreditation authorities/bodies to audit the quality of training randomly and frequently
  • Effective and proper actions on proved cases
  • Anonymous surveys from the current students re the quality issues
  • Effective and prompt action by DEEWR/ACPET re alternate placement in schools/institutions or refund of the tuition fees if the educational provider goes out of business  

4. Exploitation of  students:  

Brief details:  

Students are exposed to exploitation of all kinds & bullying in part time employment or by educational service providers. They get below-award wages in many cases.  

Proposed action plan:  

  • To advise & educate students about their RIGHTS in Australia
  • To educate them re the appropriate agencies to deal with such matters
  • To encourage/facilitate genuine students’ associations which are largely run by students themselves, not business people with hidden agenda and purposes. 
  • To lobby for establishing an  overseas Students’ Ombudsman

 5. Overseas Students’ Ombudsman:

  • This body will help students when they have issues with education providers or with employers.

6. Health Cover, other appropriate insurance matters and  emergency insurance:  

Brief details:  

Lack of proper/current Insurances and coverage by some students, particularly when they are on bridging Visa.

Proposed Action plan:  

  • Pre arrival Information package in the country of origin
  • Proper medical insurance must be a condition for the Visa and such cover must be current at all times during the stay in Australia 

7.  Social issues: 

Brief details: poor communication, insufficient participation in local community events & meetings and poor public behaviour in many cases 

Proposed action plan 

  • Communication/education through community Radio, TV, newspapers and website.
  • Encourage participation of students in community events
  • Know what is expected in every situation.
  • Encouraging and promoting “when in Rome, do as Romans do” policy for our students
  • rules/regulations, Australian ways, expected behaviour and rights/obligations [There is now sufficient information in these matters in various websites] 

8. International education as a separate ministry:

  • There is sufficient justification for a separate ministry due to the fact that it is a big earner for the economy and needs special attention.

9. International students’ advisory body:

  • comprising of some international students, community representatives, education providers and Govt representatives. This will help deal with issues in regards to bad press and advise Govt with policy recommendations.

10. Marketing:

  • targeted marketing in the key markets ie China and India
  • addressing the concerns re safety and quality of education
  • countering the bad publicity about so called “racism”, using community leaders of high repute in the key markets.

Boost in this sector will be great, but we do not need the repetition of past mistakes which literally killed the whole sector. 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/11th Oct, 2011