Despite change of venue a day and half before scheduled annual Sub Continent Friends of Labor Dinner, the annual event attracted at least 500 people.
The day started with dances choreographed by Maxine Salma’s Road2Bollywood followed by a scintillating performance by Nepali community.
The chairperson of the Sub Continent Friends of Labor, Harish Velji said, “The reason for change was to make sure that the people should be comfortable and could move around easily. Meeting MP’s is very important part of such events as many people want to have discussions and share their views and problems.”
In his welcome address, Harish Velji pointed out the issues related to IELTS exams and need for relaxation of criterion for some occupations on 457 visas, which affect the sub-continent community.
The chief guest for the evening, Minister for Immigration Brendan O’Connor while speaking on the occasion said, “Temporary overseas workers, including those from the sub-continent, have been there to help deliver important projects in regions and sectors where there has been no suitably skilled local labour. We will continue to rely on the skills of workers from around the world at different times, which is why we need to get our 457 visa system right.”
“To ensure that 457 visa scheme is used the way it was intended and to ensure employers were living up to their obligations, reforms to the temporary skilled migration scheme were announced in February,” he added
“There are thousands of cases where employers are not doing the right thing, which in the past have gone undetected .We are not targeting overseas workers, but businesses that seek to exploit them”, he clarified.
Elaborating on the newly introduced parent visa he said, “I have been getting a lot of feedback from the sub-continent community enquiring about the parent visa that allows parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents to come to Australia on a 3-5 year visa. There is much confusion regarding this and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that this type of visa is available – just under a different nomenclature”.
“Eligibility and entitlements relating to the initiative remain unchanged”, says Brendan O’Connor.
The Leader of Opposition in New South Wales John Robertson said, “Don’t be the friend of Labor, be the Voice of Labor”
Ejaz Khan in his vote of thanks said, “As Harish has mentioned in his speech that our group works with many federal and state members, I would like to particularly thank Michelle Rowland for supporting, guiding and representing our group. I personally request all of you to do whatever possible to ensure that Michelle should be re-elected”.
The Sub Continent Friends of Labor group were invited by Ejaz Khan to present flowers to Harish Velji’s to mark his birthday and also his leadership and vision.
Prior to formal function, the VIP guests were introduced, whos included Brendan O’Connor MP, John Robertson MP, Matt Thistlethwaite, Barbara Perry, Michael Daley, Mick Vietch , Sophie Cotsis, Dr Andrew Macdonald, Michelle Rowland, Laurie Ferguson , Chris Hayes, Julie Owens, Shaoquett Moselmane, Peter Primrose, Ed Husic, and Greg Donnelly.
Also the members of the Sub Continent Friend of Labor Committee were introduced. The prominent among them were Harish Velji, Ejaz Khan, Balraj Sangha, Prabajot Sangha, Moninder Singh, Amarinder Bajwa, Balaiji Venketaranghan, Jay Hosur, Pravez Khan, Suman Saha, Nur Rehman, Goba Gotwal, Bharat Pant, Mahendra Lamsal, Mansoor Noor, Bhupinder Chibber, Ganesh KC, Pharland KC, Bawa Jagdev, Aisha Amjad, Aruna Chandaral and Lucky Singh.
For the auctions Mohammad Baraz from Nomadic Carpets organised the carpets.The raffles were donated by Mendhi Judani of Best & Less for an air ticket to sub-continent city, saree by Roopham Fashions of Liverpool and a gents watch by Lords Jewellers of Liverpool.
The function was a huge success.