Sari sight ... Kristina Keneally presents the Indian Subcontinent Community awards on February 18 at Government House. She says the new awards were set up in response to community demand.

Sari sight … Kristina Keneally presents the Indian Subcontinent Community awards on February 18 at Government House. She says the new awards were set up in response to community demand.

HUNDREDS of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being poured into awards for ethnic communities prominent in seats being contested by some of the government’s most senior MPs, including the Labor leader in waiting, John Robertson.

The awards, costing $300,000 and created in the past three months, are being handed out by the Premier, Kristina Keneally, to members of the Indian, Lebanese, Vietnamese and Filipino communities at official ceremonies held at Government House.

But their proximity to the election raises questions about whether Labor is using public funds and resources, including the Community Relations Commission, which is administering the awards, to shore up its campaign in western Sydney.

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Last night ... the Filipinos line up to get their community awards.

Last night … the Filipinos line up to get their community awards. Photo: Ben Rushton

After the federal election, the former premier Morris Iemma said Labor had been dumped by its ethnic heartland in crucial western Sydney seats.

The Lebanese awards, announced on January 30 by Ms Keneally and the Labor MP for Granville, David Borger, were given out by the Premier on Tuesday night. Mr Borger did not attend, but is understood to have sent his apologies.

Mr Borger, who is the Minister for Roads, is defending his seat against the Lebanese-Australian candidate for the Liberal Party, Tony Issa. Granville is home to a large Lebanese community.

On Tuesday ... the Lebanese get-together at Government House.

On Tuesday … the Lebanese get-together at Government House. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

The Filipino awards, which were announced on February 1 by Ms Keneally and the Transport Minister, John Robertson, were handed out last night. Mr Robertson is Labor’s candidate for Blacktown and a possible future leader. He attended last night’s presentations.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data from 2006 reveals Filipinos comprise the largest overseas-born group in the Blacktown area, at 5.9 per cent.

The Vietnamese community awards will be handed out tomorrow. They were jointly announced by Ms Keneally and Labor’s MP for Cabramatta, Nick Lalich, on January 31.

The original ... the Premier's Chinese Community Service awards on February 8.

The original … the Premier’s Chinese Community Service awards on February 8.

Mr Lalich, on a margin of just 7.2 per cent, is fighting for his political future against a Vietnamese-born Liberal candidate, Dai Le, in a seat which has a large and influential Vietnamese community.

The inaugural winners of the Indian Subcontinent Community Awards were revealed at an official ceremony held on February 18, after their creation was announced on December 22.

The awards were announced by Ms Keneally and the Labor MP for Macquarie Fields, Andrew McDonald, who is the co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends of India. This group was created by the government in late November. The chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, said the commission was ”just facilitating these awards” after having been asked by Ms Keneally to administer them.

”If there is a political perception, it’s not as a consequence of anything that the commission has done,” he said.

Ms Keneally said the awards were created in response to calls from community groups to recognise community service in a similar way to the long-running Premier’s Chinese Community Service Awards.

Looking very fetching in a sari…

As one who refused to take up Australian citizenship until there was an option to pledge allegiance to the people of Australia instead of the queen (sorry, no capital ‘Q’ here), I am supremely ambivalent about the constitutional monarchy we have in Australia.

To me, it is a back door way for retaining the exclusionary ‘Australia’s heritage’ arguments for the diehard old school (mainly, it seems) Anglicans who see themselves as arbiters of what is and is not ‘Australian’. They are a vocal and extremely influential minority though, and are going to have to be dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming.

Face it, the monarchy is irrelevant in Australia; apart from a few archaic constitutional conventions, it exists but in name. But it does have a symbolic significance and should be turfed out if for no other reason than to acknowledge the lack of its relevance to our lives.

It’s a sign of the times that we see the monarchy being mocked in the public domain these days. Here is a billboard advertisement for a South Australian brewery:


Coopers beer ad upsets monarchists

The monarchist rump (now that’s a useful term!) is actually expending energy to protest about this sort of stuff. A link to this story is here.

Someone should tell them to get a life or move and live it in Old Blighty.


…love their you beaut utes.

If that’s all gibberish to you, you may need a crash course in Australian expressions and slang.

Relaxing at the bar … ute enthusiasts get into the spirit of<br/>the event.

After his beer, and his footy, the love of the Aussie bloke apparently is…his ute. And Deniliquin-a town in country new South Wales state- is capitalising on this with the annual Deni Ute Muster to boost tourism to the city. Last year’s record showing of 6211 utes is expected to be overtaken this year. It’s also set a record for the largest number of blue singlets  worn in a place.

Enjoy more details of this very Australian yarn here.

Switched on Desis

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Here’s something from the electronics trade rag, SmartHouseNews:

The Story Behind The New DECA Range

Mendelson Tiu – Tuesday, 18 September 2007
DECA (Digital Electronics Corporation Australia Pty Ltd) was founded in 2005 by Nihal Gupta, who saw a new direction in design and style emerging in the Australian market place during that year. Now, two years down the road, DECA is now offering a new line of electronic furniture that will blend into one’s home with ease.

According to DECA’s Managing Director, Nihal Gupta, the new range of products was both created and inspired by iconic designer Marcel Wanders. “I was very focused on the key principals of design and style. Using this as my benchmark, I traveled around the world seeking products that would fulfill that criteria and was thrilled to discover that an accomplished designer such as Marcel Wanders had designed a home electronics range. Technology and functionality were also important prerequisites of my inspiration. I am
pleased that this new range introduces technology and features ahead of their time, and being beautifully crafted with design and style, they are simply unparalleled in the marketplace.”Nihal also mentioned that Marcel Wanders was chosen to design the new DECA range as the products released in Europe was a huge success. “Marcel Wanders believes we should live with passion and style. It’s all about a combination of beauty and technology that harmonises with people’s lifestyles. Today’s consumers accept and expect technology but the new wave of consumer electronics will offer an aesthetic solution as well.

Our range answers all those ‘what if’ questions – ‘what if my iPod could communicate wirelessly with my speakers?’, ‘what if my side table was also a home theatre system?,” Nihal added.

As you might have gathered, all this high falutin’ language essentially means that you are going to have to part with serious bikkies to buy the stuff in the range.

Which brings me to another desi- one Raaj Menon who has quite a well established offering of wireless routers, ADSL modems and also a quite interesting Network DVD Media Player– which is a DVD player cum wireless audio/video streaming device. There are others like it, but these guys had one a few years ago when they were not so common.