Indians in Oz give mixed response to Labor's return to power

"Thank God, at least we have a Prime Minister, not a caretaker PM anymore," Sydney-based cardiologist Yadu Singh said. Gillard, who assumed power 10 weeks ago in a party revolt, has scripted history by becoming the first elected woman Prime Minister of Australia.

Singh said though Gillard would have a fairly difficult time to adjust to the demands of independents and a Green MP who have extended support to her party for government formation, it would be a new experiment for Federal Parliament with the first minority government since 1943.

However, he also expressed apprehensions about the government completing its full term, specially because of policies like one which prevents sale of uranium to non-NPT signatories like India.

"I suspect that it (the policies) will provide an unstable and weak government and we will have a fresh election within a year," he said. However, for Primus (Australia) Telecom CEO Ravi Bhatia the outcome of the August 21 cliffhanger poll was a good one for Australia.

"I must say that democracy in action was fascinating to watch....We will see major advances in education, health, research and all sectors of business," said Bhatia, who also heads Australia-India Business Council (AIBC).

"Australian small businesses will be able to enjoy and advance using technology available only to very large businesses now. We expect major productivity gains in the country.

"Indian IT companies will gain from this development by assisting Australian businesses in applications development and testing and similar areas," he said. Federation of Indian Student of Australia (FISA) founder Gautam Gupta, who was instrumental in prompting the government to look into safety of foreign students, said: "Firstly, I think an outcome is welcome. (But) The uncertainty was disturbing."

From India's point of view, it means that "uranium sale is off the table for now," he said. "So India will continue to be a country we (Australia) can live with but not a country we can trust."

On the education scam in Australia, Gupta pointed out that Gillard was the Education Minister when the whole scandal was unfolding. "We are yet to see any change in the direction to deliver justice to the affected and to revive the battered industry."

However, he said he will "still celebrate the fact that we finally have our first elected female Prime Minister from a party that has strong social justice credentials." President of federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV), Vasan Srinivasan, said the community recognised the significance of first woman Prime Minister.

Vasan expressed hope that the Gillard government would undertake a greater role to ensure fairness and equity in the education sector, noting that the past 18 months had been difficult for the Indian community, specially for the newest migrants.

"Gillard recognises the enormous contribution of the international education sector to the economy and the much greater role government must undertake to ensure fairness and equity in the sector," Srinivasan said.

Gillard, as Education Minister under Kevin Rudd leadership, had visited India in September last year in the wake of a series of attacks on Indian students in Australia. As per the Labor party policy, uranium sale is prohibited to India and other non-NPT signatories. However, Rudd-led government had strongly backed India's case for a permanent UN Security Council seat.

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