Coming Up Wed 9:00 PM  AEDT
Coming Up Live in 
Live
Punjabi radio
SBS PUNJABI

'More Indian-origin leaders, especially women, should join Australian state or federal parliament'

Deepak-Raj Gupta, the current Labor MLA from Yerrabie, who is running for re-election in the 2020 ACT Assembly elections Source: Supplied

Deepak-Raj Gupta, who made history by becoming the first person of Indian origin to be elected to the ACT parliament, is running for re-election in the Australian Capital Territory's Assembly elections. He spoke to SBS Punjabi about his first term as MLA, his vision for the future, and about campaigning for elections during COVID restrictions.

Deepak-Raj Gupta is a Labor party candidate in the ACT elections currently underway until October 17. He was first elected as an MLA in the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2016 from the electorate of Yerrabie. 

He says he's achieved a lot during his first term, and believes that his track record will enable him to be successful in his bid for re-election in 2020. 


Highlights:

  • Deepak-Raj Gupta is a Labor party candidate from Yerrabie in the 2020 ACT Assembly elections
  • Mr created history in 2016, when he was the first Indian origin MLA to be elected in ACT
  • He hopes to see more female representation in parliaments around Australia, especially women of Indian origin

"I have received a wonderful response from the community during campaigning. Of course, it has been hampered by COVID restrictions and we couldn't hold functions for a long time, but I have relied heavily on making personal phone calls to my constituents," Mr Gutpa tells SBS Punjabi.

"I must've made at least 150 calls every single day and all up, I would've made well over 25,000 phone calls in addition to door knocking. The community response has been heartening, because although this has been a very forgettable year, first due to the bushfires, then the hailstorm in Canberra, which was followed by COVID, people seem to be happy with the government response."

Mr Gupta says his first term in the ACT assembly has been very rewarding experience.

"I have found that people don't have huge demands. They have basic requirements like getting rid of a blind spot, fixing a pothole or cutting down an encroaching tree, and I have been fortunate that I have been able to help fulfil these small but essential needs," he says.

Deepak-Raj Gupta, the current Labor MLA from Yerrabie, who is running for re-election in the 2020 ACT Assembly elections
Supplied

He speaks of visiting aged care homes to meet the elderly, taking steps to improve mental health in the community and developing a plan for the future.

"I moved a motion in the assembly for the future generations because I believe water security, clean energy and climate change are important matters to work on. We have to leave the planet in a condition that the future generations can enjoy it, just like we have."

And Mr Gupta says his election to ACT assembly has also proved to be beneficial for the Australian-Indian community.

"Last year, we created history by having the Assembly open up on a Saturday - that has never ever happened before - to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji. Prayers were recited and langar (vegetarian meal) was served to everyone. It was wonderful to see that happening for the first time ever in Canberra."

He adds, "I've also helped secure a large piece of land for a Hindu temple, which I'm sure will become a tourist attraction in the future. Most importantly, a motion I moved was passed in the assembly to build a 1000-seat Multicultural Community hall in Canberra with state of the art facilities."

He looks forward to celebrating cultural and religions festivals there, including Diwali, Vaisakhi, Navratri and Holi.

Deepak-Raj Gupta, the current Labor MLA from Yerrabie, who is running for re-election in the 2020 ACT Assembly elections
Deepak-Raj Gupta on the campaign trail
Supplied

But Mr Gupta believes one of his greatest achievements is that he has blazed a trail for other Australians of Indian origin to become more active in politics. 

"We are a very hard-working and progressive community and my election has proven that we can become lawmakers too."

"Now I really look forward to more female representation from our community in our parliaments, no matter which political party they belong to. I really hope that someone of Indian origin goes on to enter federal and other state parliaments, and I'll be delighted if we have female MPs or MLAs from the Indian community."

To hear the full interview, please click on the audio player above. 

Listen to SBS Punjabi Monday to Friday at 9 pm. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Find out what restrictions are in place for your state or territory.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at http://www.sbs.com.au/coronavirus

 

 

Coming up next

# TITLE RELEASED TIME MORE
'More Indian-origin leaders, especially women, should join Australian state or federal parliament' 01/10/2020 13:50 ...
Australian News in Punjabi: Channel 7 takes Cricket Australia to court 01/12/2020 10:59 ...
Sights, sounds and sentiments: Guru Nanak's birth anniversary celebrations at Nankana Sahib 01/12/2020 13:20 ...
SBS Punjabi News: China refuses to apologise, says Australia should be 'ashamed' 30/11/2020 10:53 ...
Farmers refuse Indian government's 'conditional offer', senior ministers convene emergency meeting 30/11/2020 09:26 ...
Immigration update: Major changes announced for partner visa applicants and other Australian family visas 30/11/2020 06:00 ...
Sikh police officer’s daughter makes heartfelt plea to Premier Berejiklian to investigate racism and bullying allegations 30/11/2020 08:00 ...
New COVID-19 health alert issued in South Australia 30/11/2020 06:00 ...
Nankana Sahib is welcoming 1,500 Sikh pilgrims from around the world for Guru Nanak's 551st birth anniversary 28/11/2020 11:00 ...
SBS Punjabi News 27 Nov: Victoria effectively eliminates coronavirus from the community 27/11/2020 11:00 ...
View More