The Labor Party bestowed the coveted McKell Award on Balaji Venkatarangan of the Australian Indian community. Balaji Venkatarangan has been a grass roots Labor member for over 18 years who rose from the ranks to achieve the fete.
Balaji has been a social and political leader par excellence who stands out in a crowd and leads from the front!
After migrating to Australia over 20 years back, Balaji soon joined the Labor Party and played a prominent role in many elections. He tirelessly worked for the success of Labor candidates in the Western Sydney region of Parramatta, Reid, Granville, Prospect, Greenway and Chiefly.
Balaji worked for Labor candidates Paul Elliot, Laurie Ferguson, David Borger, Kin Yeadon, Julie Owens, Nathan Rees, Chris Bowen, Ed Husic and Perear Esbar and contributed to ensuring their success. Balaji is one of the founder members as also the Steering Committee member of Sub-Continent Friends of Labor.
He is a delegate of AMWU Union – UGL Rail Auburn. Balaji had been a nominee for Primer’s Sub-continent Cultural Award 2011 and nominee for NSW Volunteer of the year 2010. He had been elected Vice President, ALP Merrylands Branch.
He was also elected Vice President, Holroyd Municipal City council. Balaji visited India as part of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Trade delegation in September 2012. During India’s foreign Minister S M Krishna’s visit to Australia, Balaji played a very important role in conveying to him the sensitive Indian student’s issue in a proper way. He also discussed the sale of uranium to India from Labor Party point of view.
He was on the Advisory Board of Paramasala for 2010-2012. He is the President of an NGO – IAAFA Inc (Indian Australian Arts & Film Association) that is devoted to training children in Indian art and music.
In 2012 he contested Council Election from seat of Holroyd East Ward against all odds and managed to get a swing in favor of Labor. This is considered a good outcome for the Labor party in adverse conditions.
Balaji lives up to his appeal as a caring Australian involved in Clean-up Australia and raising funds for Victorian Bush Fire appeal and Cancer Council of Australia.
Balaji passionately believes that any political movement is best represented by its grass root workers – as they are the torch bearers of the society we live in. The party workers are the edium through whom the party gets the feel of the mood and aspirations of the masses.
A man of principles, Balaji believes that political power should be judiciously used for the welfare of the masses and wealth not concentrated in the hands of the few. He believes that more than words, constructive action alone can make a difference to the society!
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