FEDERATION of Indian Communities of Queensland on behalf of all the Indian community organisations presents the Honorary Indian of the year award every year, to identify people who contribute and promote multiculturalism in Queensland. The nature of activity can be in terms of various initiatives and leadership multicultural activities sustained over a long period of time. Those initiatives and support should help to diverse multicultural community in Queensland, including broader Indian community. This year, the Honorary Indian of the Year award was presented to Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts, during FICQ’s Diwali 2015 event on 16th October 2015.
FICQ president Prof. Prasad Yaralagadda gave the briefing of the award by acknowledging the first recipient of the Honorary Indian of the Year award 2005-06; Councillor Paul Pisasale, Mayor of Ipswich, FICQ Patron Dr. Maha Sinnathamby announced the award for 2015 and His Excellency Mr. Navdeep Suri, Indian High Commissioner for Australia, presented the award to Annastacia Palaszczuk. Others present during the ceremony were Ms. Tanya Smith, MP, representing state Opposition Leader Mr. Lawrence Springborg, Hon. Minister Ms Shannon Fentiman, Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Claire Moore, Labor senator for Queensland, Aunty Delmae Barton, other Members of Parliament, Councillors, FICQ executive committee members, Patrons and other community leaders.
Multiculturalism has been in the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts’s blood since birth as the daughter of veteran state Labor MP Henry Palaszczuk. She has continued this family tradition since entering politics. Ms Palaszczuk has represented the multicultural Inala electorate in the Queensland Parliament since September 2006 and has always shown her wholehearted support for multicultural communities, including the Indian community.
Following the 2009 election, she was appointed as the Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs. One of her most challenging tasks that year was to assure Indian students and the Indian community that students of Indian origin were safe in Queensland. She showed her support for the Indian students by appointing a community liaison officer and convening a Roundtable to discuss ways to support the Indian student community and make sure they felt safe and even supported the Vindaloos against Violence campaign.
Ms Palaszczuk has always recognised the role of the diverse Indian communities in promoting multiculturalism, harmony and peace across Queensland. She demonstrated this in 2010 when she presented the Indian community her Minister’s Multicultural Community Award at the 2010 Queensland Multicultural Award ceremony.
As Premier she is leading the way to dialogue between Queensland and the Indian community in many fields, trade, education and culture. Under her, the relations can only grow from strength to strength.
In recognition of her leadership role and contributions to various multicultural activities, the Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland along with all Indian Community organisations, unanimously decided to present ‘The Honorary Indian of the Year Award’ to Hon. Premier Ms. Annastacia Palaszczuk.
By Prakruthi Mysore Gururaj