Shveata Chandel Singh talks to Bhupinder Kumar Chhibber, the first ever candidate from the Indian community to be nominated for the Senate
Bhupinder Kumar Chhibber, the first ever candidate from the Indian community to be nominated for the Senate, feels that the forthcoming elections will bring drastic changes to the system.
He says the Indian community will play a crucial role in the upcoming elections.
“Indians in Australia always have represented themselves as individuals rather than a community, which helps little to a marginal population in Australia. So, it is now time to stand united and elect a representative with a massive mandate,” says Chhibber, who has been nominated by the Australian Labour Party and will be the first ever Indian to don the mantle, if elected.
Currently the senior vice president of the South Strathfield Labor Party branch and vice president of the Strathfield Electoral Council (SEC), Chhibber is also the president of the Global Organisation of People of Indian origin (GOPIO), which promotes Indian cultural heritage and felicitates the young generation on their academic and other achievements.
He is very positive about the upcoming election and says that since Indians now constitute six per cent of the Australian population, the community has emerged as a force to reckon with. It is already being seen as a big force in the elections.
“As of now the political parties have started recognising the sub-continent community. This is a positive development. The Indian community has a wider participation in the forthcoming elections and their smart moves can surely make a difference,” Chhibber says.
“Indians have a massive vote bank and the need of the hour is that the community should understand their strength, come forward and support the person representing their community. This will have a positive impact and will help satiate the aspirations of the community, their issues and demands in Parliament .The voters have to make a smart move. Before choosing anyone, they should go through the facts rather than just cast their vote for the sake of it,” says Chhibber, who has been an active community leader for almost a decade.
“The Indians will certainly play a critical role in the outcome of the elections,” he adds.
Chhibber, a mechanical engineer by profession, joined the Labor Party soon after migrating to Australia and has been working with the party for the past decade. He believes it is the only political party, which is focussed on building strong bilateral ties with India.
Chhibber, who is active in the Strathfield area of New South Wales, says that 30-40 per cent of Indians are voting for the first time in the upcoming election, so it is a big opportunity for them.
“The main problem the migrants face is unemployment. Labor Party is thus concentrating on better education and jobs for the community members,” he observes.
Since his arrival in Australia, Chhibber has always participated in community welfare activities. From his early days in Australia, he has been working for the welfare of the under-privileged segments of the community by providing them monetary assistance through organisations.
He has worked in close association with the community and also helps new migrants from the sub-continent with counselling and advice. He also arranges for their food and shelter at his place.
Chhibber has also raised issues with his local Councillor about the current law and order situation. He even raised the issues of traffic hazards and commuting problems – for instance, he is currently trying to get a lift or ramp installed at Flemington station.
Chhibber is very passionate about working for the needy. For the past several years, he has been donating towards building shelters for the destitute women of Vrindavan (India) and contributed towards educating underprivileged children in India.
He believes that if a person from the sub-continent is elected to the Senate it will be very helpful for the community as a whole. “Indians have specific issues being a migrant community and deserve special dispensation,” he maintains.