Australia today said it has “zero tolerance” for racial attacks on Indian students on its soil and denied that such incidents led to decrease in number of students enrolling in universities in the country.
“Our government has very clearly said that it has got zero tolerance for any form of violence against Indian students or against anyone else in Australia and we pride ourselves as a multi-cultural nation,” visiting Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.
Interacting with students of Lady Sri Ram College for Women here, Ms. Gillard sought to put an end to the palpable worries about studying in Australia following the spate of attacks.
She said the State governments in her country have “geared up with police crackdowns. There are now more police visible on the streets patrolling those areas where there has been problems.”
Ms. Gillard, who met HRD Minister Kapil Sibal earlier in the day, said her government has asked a former member of Australian Parliament to conduct “a review to see what more things we can do to provide additional legislative protection for Indian students and other international students.”
On whether the attacks led to a fall in number of students coming to Australia, Ms. Gillard, who is also the country’s Education Minister, said “we are seeing from figures the continuing demands from Indian students to come and study in country.”
She said both Australia and India are committed to taking their education partnership to a “new and exciting stage.”
Ms. Gillard, who delivered a lecture on ‘women and leadership, said both Indian and Australian education system are undergoing reform and both are investing more on this sector. “Your national government is investing more on education… we too are investing on education system. We believe nothing is more important than investing in national education,” she said.
To a question from a student if her government will support India’s claim to be permanent member of the UN Security Council, she said, “we will be doing that. We have been an advocate of supporting India’s claim to being a member of the Security Council.”