Lean on me, part-time of course

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Jaswinder Singh Sidhu is a dedicated community leader. He’s also a devout Labor man. Sidhu has served the interest of Punjabis and Indians in the West like no one else till date. In a short span of time, he rose to the helm of affairs in the Indian community in Victoria. He has been featured in all Indian ethnic magazines prominently, and has immense support from the community’s senior citizens.

With such goodwill, talent and support from the community, the Labor government in Victoria could only manage to convince Sidhu to take up a part-time role as an adviser. I’m impressed though as to how he handles so many roles and still manages to advise the Premier of Victoria, mainly on issues facing Indians.

To be brutally honest, I’m not quite sure if this is because the Labor government did not want to invest in a full-time adviser. All we know is that Liberals had full-timers advising Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine.

Going back to what Sidhu has done for the community: Last year, during the lead up to the Victorian elections, he single-handedly managed to convince Daniel Andrews to promise Indians that under the Labor government the Indian Film Festival will be less controversial. The results have started unravelling. This year, the Festival is less controversial for sure. The government has even managed to take the Festival to Wyndham. Cr Gupta has played a pivotal role in organising the sponsorship for IFFM, but without the Labor government’s support, it could not have been possible.

We all know that former minister Asher refused to meet with Cr Gupta last year to discuss the festival. She refused to have any community consultation. This time it’s not very different, but Sidhu is clearly working hard to diffuse potential irritants.

The government seems to be listening to the part-time advice of Sidhu and some of the demands from the community have already been met. Although the details of the Wyndham sponsorship remains sketchy as of now, the festival definitely looks community oriented. I would give Sidhu all the credit for such a breakthrough. Again, how did a part-time adviser manage this?

We (at least, The Indian Sun) didn’t hear much from Sidhu after the Victorian elections. Soon after the dust settled from Labor’s victory march, Sidhu emerged on social media networks. He posted on his wall a photo of him with the Premier’s wife Catherine Andrews, with the message: “A moment when Victorian Premier’s wife Catherine Andrews stunned everyone with her beautiful hand woven traditional South Indian kanjivaram saree. Premier Daniel Andrews also tried to match his wife with a blue scarf.”

We were instantly convinced that Sidhu had used his diplomatic wand to fix the woes around IFFM. The critics of the festival like Jude Perera have gone silent. Perera had vocally asked for more community consultation last year. Although there has not been such consultation, Daniel Andrews, with the advice of Sidhu, is poised to deliver a pro-community film festival this year. Through Jaswinder’s advice and diplomacy, many disgruntled community leaders have been brought closer as well.

The point I’m making here is: Sidhu is oozing with talent, diplomacy and goodwill. He would definitely win from a safe seat if Labor fields him tomorrow. But till then he should be a full-time adviser. For the community’s sake!

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