Ms JODI McKAY ( Strathfield ) ( 21:35 ): I bring to the attention of the House four extraordinary leaders in the Tamil Australian community who were honoured at the 2016 Kamban Kazhagam Australia literary festival's tenth anniversary celebrations. Receiving the highest honour was Dr Kathirvetpillai Nadanachandran, who was awarded the Maaruthi Award for his outstanding contribution to the Australian community. A neurosurgeon by profession, Dr Nadanachandran migrated to Canberra in the late 1970s. He became a member of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons and contributed as a lecturer. Dr Nadanachandran played a pivotal role in humanitarian efforts associated with the civil unrest in Sri Lanka.
Under former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, he was a member of the immigration Minister's advisory team and worked to increase awareness of race riots in Sri Lanka. His efforts resulted in the provision of humanitarian visas being extended to Tamil refugees. Dr Nadanachandran also assisted people affected by the 2005 South Asian tsunami, and he trained two local doctors in Fiji. Dr Nadanachandran was awarded the OAM (General Division) in 2015.
I also acknowledge three recipients of the Saantror Award, which is given to Tamil scholars who have made a significant contribution to Tamil language, literature, arts, culture and the community. Professor Gnana Kulendran served for 21 years as head of the arts faculty at the Tamil University in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India, She was the first woman to hold the role. Professor Kulendran has published 13 books, with one of her works receiving an award from the Tamil Nadu Government. In 2003, Professor Kulendran was awarded the Women's Achievement Award by the American Biographical Institute. She has been a pioneer for the development of Tamil in Australia through her extensive research work.
Dr Kandiah Ganeshalingam is also a recipient of the Saantror Award. Dr Ganeshalingam is an electrical engineer and also a scholar in Saiva philosophy and practices. He is the subeditor of a Tamil quarterly magazine and also the vice-president of the Indian Division of the World Hindu Society. Dr Ganeshalingam has contributed significantly to Tamil literature with 14 published works, including three poetry books. He has been an active contributor to Tamil television and radio programs and has also imparted his knowledge through classes in philosophy in Saivam.
Dr Elamuraganar Bharathy is also a recipient of the Saantror Award. Dr Bharathy trained as a dentist and is a proud descendant of the great Sri Lanka poet, Navaalioor Somasunthara Pulavar. Dr Bharathy has been an active contributor to Tamil communities in Australia and abroad. In Sri Lanka he was a member of the Jaffna Rotary Club and assisted in key projects including the professional development of women. Dr Bharathy has participated in allied health medical camps and has served as the chief adviser for the Tamil competitions. He is also the founder of the Festival of Tamil Scholars.
Mr Mahadeva Iyer Jeyaramasarma is a prominent contributor to Tamil theatre and is also a recipient of the Saantror Award. Mr Jeyaramasarma has written, directed and acted in more than 100 dramas and 20 dance dramas. He has also written 50 traditional songs called Villu Paatu, a traditional art form of storytelling. Mr Jeyaramasarma was an announcer with the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation and has carried his expertise to Australia by serving as the co-editor and an adviser for Tamil newspapers and magazines in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
Those four extraordinary leaders of the Tamil community deserve to be recognised by this Parliament—the oldest Parliament in Australia. I thank Kamban Kazhagan Australia for its support of the Tamil community and for the Tamil language, in particular. I congratulate the organisation on its tenth anniversary celebrations.
TEMPORARY SPEAKER ( Mr Adam Crouch ): I congratulate the member for Strathfield on her linguistic skills.