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6th Australian National Hindu Conference
National Hindu conference highlights the contribution of Hindus to Australian society
The 6th Australian National Hindu Conference with the theme ‘Strengthening Communities – Stronger Australia’ was highly praised by the Governor of South Australia His Excellency Hieu Van Lie in his opening remark. He said, ‘Here in South Australia, our Hindu community makes a major contribution to our society’.
The Premier of South Australia Hon Jay Weatherill provided a message that ‘The event will also provide an insight into the Hindu communities of South Australia – communities that enrich our State by generously sharing their cultural gifts with fellow citizens’. The Minister for Multicultural Affairs Hon Zoe Bettison also praised ‘VHP Australia’s social programs for those in need, not to mention the tireless work of the volunteers who so readily give up their time to strengthen our community’.
The President of the Legislative Council of South Australia The Hon Russell Wortley MLC applauded Vishva Hindu Parishad for organising the conference and thanked the Hindu community leaders for ‘strengthening the multicultural fabric of Australia by sharing their faith, celebrating their traditions, supporting those in need, guiding young people and promoting religious harmony’.
The National President of Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia Shri R. Subramanian JP welcomed the dignitaries and Smt. Neha Shinghal President of VHP South Australia Western Australia shared the range of services delivered to the wider Australian community by VHP volunteers.
Shri Rajendra Pandey, President of VHP South Australia shared the contribution of Hindu Australians and noted that number of Australian Hindus holding a higher and post-graduate qualification is seven times the Australian average. He noted that although Hindus constitute just 1.9% of the Australian population; 2.4% of Australian professionals are Hindus and 25% of Hindus earn more than $52,000 as compared to 20% for rest of Australia.
In the first plenary session, ‘Working with Government agencies’, Lord Mayor of City of Adelaide The Right Hon Martin Haese reiterated that the Hindu community plays an important role in the success of Adelaide.
Swami Vigyananand ji, International Coordinator and Joint General Secretary VHP Bharat chaired the session ‘Collaboration among Hindu Organisations Temples and Associations’. During his address, he explained the purpose of HOTA (Hindu Organisations Temples and Associations) and appealed to more than 40 organisations, associations and temples attending, to work together.
He emphasised that while Hindus come to Australia from many different countries and hold many geopolitical, linguistic, denominational, and sectional identities, the current time demands that we must forge one common identity – a Hindu Australian identity. He later formally launched the HOTA Forum in South Australia hosted by VHP South Australia in 2018 and Shirdi Sai Sansthan in the year 2019. Fifteen other organisations have expressed interest to host future forums.
In the youth session, Youth members from across the country shared their thoughts on pertinent matters including ideas on developing future leadership. Eminent community members originating from eight different countries were brought together in a panel discussion to deliberate on ideas for bringing Hindus from different countries together and the panel unanimously concluded that HOTA Forum had the potential to bridge the existing gap.
The conference saw the launch of three new divisions in South Australia; HOTA Forum, Vedic and Cultural Centre of Australia and Hindu Women Forum. It also provided a platform to more than 35 Hindu organisations, temples, and associations where they shared ideas on how they could work unitedly to strengthen their communities and make Australia stronger.