Dr Mohanadas Balasingham (Morgan), candidate from the Palmer United Party for the Grayndler seat, tells Shveata Chandel Singh that he wants to make a change in the healthcare system in Australia.
Born on October 2, the same day as the Father of the Indian Nation Mahatma Gandhi, his parents named him ‘Mohanadas’ and it is no surprise that Dr Balasingham believes so strongly in the Gandhian philosophy.
“I believe that we need to make the world a better place for all beings,” says Dr Balasingham, 51, who is originally from Sri Lanka.
Dr Balasingham, candidate from the Palmer United Party for the Grayndler seat, is busy gearing up for the upcoming elections. And he says if there is one thing he has learned from his life, it is to never give up. “I grew up in Colombo and even did my basic schooling there. In 1983, while I was doing my medical degree, the communal violence in Sri Lanka broke out and my studies were interrupted. Due to the ongoing situation of the communal riots, death and disaster, my family moved to India. After moving to India I worked hard to finish my basic medical degree in 1987,” says Dr Balasingham.
After his internship, Dr Balasingham managed to go to Papua New Guinea and work in Mount Hagen Hospital, where his father was an obstetrician.
“My father is my motivation and my inspiration. His courage and strength to work tirelessly and his dedication towards his profession influenced me. He would even sacrifice his food and sleep to care for his patients. There were times he would not come home for two days at a stretch because he was helping patients. His commitment gave me the vision to work for mankind,” says Dr Balasingham, who then went to England in 1991 for one year to study further. “In 1992, after getting married I returned back to Papua New Guinea,” he says.
In December of ‘94, he migrated to New Zealand and worked in a few places in North and South islands and then came to Australia in July 1998.
“I started medical work in Melbourne and then moved to Cairns, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, and Broken Hill before finally settling down in Sydney in 2002. Since then I have worked in several hospitals until I decided to become a General Practitioner (GP),” he adds.
But all through his work life, Dr Balasingham made sure he never forgot to do his bit for the community. Whether it was tree planting, working at the soup kitchen, serving food for the homeless, or collecting and distributing food items and clothes for refugees in Australia, Dr Balasingham contributes both time and money towards community development – every year, he also contributes more than 50 per cent of his earnings to charity organizations.
Dr Balasingham is a member of various non-profitable charitable organizations and has been an active member of a church group.
“My mother is my spiritual strength. She is humble and polite and taught me how to draw strength from prayers. No one can change the whole world but I want to contribute as much as I can for the betterment of the society. My aim is to help the needy human beings in meeting their basic requirements which includes food, shelter, education, healthcare needs etc,” he says.
Working as a GP, he is dismayed at the healthcare system in Australia, which he feels is deteriorating as it is gets more commercialized.
“My aim to join politics is to improve the health care scenario, which I believe requires immediate attention. Money has become the priority than the care of the patients. A patient requiring attention would not see specialist or go for operation because of the exorbitant costs. I joined politics only to resolve these issues,” says Dr Balasingham.
He is also very concerned about the deterioration of education system in Australia. “The education system is also worsening. The system focuses only on imparting knowledge with no emphasis on character building. We need to introduce a character-based education system,” he adds. Dr Balasingham is of the opinion that students should be introduced to various faiths and led to make an informed decision on a path they find comfortable rather than blindly follow the religion they were born into.
“I am not a politician and I was never interested in politics but if I can achieve these noble goals using politics as a stepping stone, I am happy to give it a go. I believe politics is a blueprint for reforms,” says Dr Balasingham.
His aim is to establish an exemplary nation that is filled with values like love, right conduct, peace, truth and nonviolence. Like the man whose birth date he shares.