Politics, business, AFL and beyond

By Dheepa Awtani

Dheepa Awtani catches up with former ministerial adviser Mr Nitin Gupta to get his views on latest political developments in Victoria

What would be your take on the Andrew’s government decision to build a youth detention centre in the West? The decision may impact property prices in the area as well.

Well… what I have learned in Australian politics is, that if you live in any safe seat then there may be some surprises, while if you live in a Marginal Seat, then you are better looked after by both the major parties. That is the reason that I have always lived, and bought properties in marginal seats.

Jaswinder Sidhu or Cr Intaj Khan—Who do you think would be able to get the ALP preselection for Tarneit?

That would be for ALP members to decide. I have never been a member of ALP, so I am not fully aware about their preselection process, hence I cannot comment any further, apart from wishing good luck to both of them.

What do you have to say about the “expenses claims row” being investigated against MPs Telmo and Don Nardella? What would be the difference between this fiasco, and that of Geoff Shaw?

The differences between the current fiasco and Geoff Shaw fiasco would be:

1) Geoff Shaw fiasco came in light quite early in the term, and the current fiasco came in light after two years.

2) Geoff Shaw was from one of the most marginal seats, hence there was more coverage in the media.

3) Hon. Daniel Andrews has a slightly bigger majority in the lower house, while Hon. Ted Baillieu had a wafer thin majority when the Geoff Shaw fiasco came out.

There are procedures in place at the Parliament to deal with such scenarios. So I would not like to make any further comments.

Which party would you vote for in the next Victorian elections?

I live in one of the most marginal Victorian seats, so I have a big wish list of things for my area. Issues such as introduction of SEAL program in Alkira College, introduction of Hindi classes in Hillsmeade Primary, improvements on the Thompsons Road, removal of the level crossing near the Narre Warren station, more parking spots at Narre Warren Station,and extension of Cranbourne line etc—whichever major party would come up with better policy on above issues would get the vote of my family. Any extras most welcome!


And what do you have to say about the new AIBC Victoria President?

The new AIBC Victoria President Mr Mike Moingard was also an integral part of the teamthat managed to more than double its subscribed members, substantially increase the number of female members, partnered successfully with the RMIT Indian Film Festival, and hosted legends like Indian billionaire Mr Tulsi Tanti, Former Premier Hon. Ted Baillieu, Minister for Trade Hon. Phillip Dalidakis, and Congress politician Mrs Priyanka Chaturvedi.

He has proved his worth already as a team member. I am sure he would impress similarly as the AIBC Victoria President as well.

Do you think AFL has future back in India?

I think the key for AFL would be to first engage with Australian Indian community. For a sport to be commercially viable in India you need a minimum television audience of one million plus. There are half million Australian Indians—plus many who returned to India after studying here. If just the families of these people back in India start watching AFL, then it becomes commercially sustainable. The AFL should also work on creating a good local event in Melbourne, which could grow into a signature AFL Indian community night.

Do you think that there would be an increase in Australian investments by big Indian corporate houses anytime soon?

I think most Indian corporate houses are closely watching the progress of projects such as Wollongong Coal, and others where substantial investment has already been made by Indian companies.

The way these projects progress, the lead times and returns on those existing investments would determine the future investments by Indian corporates in Australia.

Then there are corporate houses like Patanjali Group, Shehnaz Husain Group, and others who have no choice but to secure the supply of certain agriculture and forestry products such as Indian Sandalwood from Australia. These groups are already in advanced negotiations with relevant stakeholders.

Both the mining and dining Boom can run together for the next few decades in Australia, if they can capture the Indian market. Some positive messages need to go back to India about existing Indian investments in Australia for more future investments to follow.