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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 377

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (10:00): Once again it is an honour for me to participate in the Lunar New Year celebrations throughout my community. Lunar New Year, or Tet as the Vietnamese refer to it, is a time to celebrate with family and friends, and this year is the year of the rooster. The rooster is traditionally associated with people who are courageous, trustworthy, hardworking and with a healthy outlook on life. As Bernadette, my wife, indicates she was born in the year of the rooster, I am hardly likely to argue with those qualities.

My celebration started at midnight at the Phuoc Hue Temple in Wetherill Park, welcoming the new year with thousands of Vietnamese families in what was a remarkable experience. I then visited the Mingyue Lay temple at Bonnyrigg with the Australian Chinese Buddhist Association and witnessed the Chinese Australian celebrations. I thank James Chan and Vincent Kong not only for their organisation of this fabulous event and inviting me to be part of it again but for what they do throughout our community. I also take the time to congratulate Vincent Kong for being recognised in this year's Australia Day honours and awarded an Order of Australia.

I then visited the Thien Vien Minh Quang in Canley Vale, the Phap Bao Temple in St Johns Park, the Vinh Nghiem Temple in Cabramatta and the Ni Vien Thien Hoa, also in Cabramatta. I thank Andrew Nguyen for organising the temple visits for me. I thank the venerables there for assisting my visit and making the Lunar New Year experience with the local families very memorable.

Last but not least, I attended the Vietnamese Tet Festival at Fairfield Showground. It is one of the most popular festivals in the local calendar and is attended by over 10,000 people. I congratulate the Vietnamese Community in Australia for once again organising a fabulous event. The lion dancing, the enjoyable Vietnamese cuisine, the carnival and the games—all highlights for local families—celebrate our multicultural community. I thank the President of the VCA, Dr Thang Ha, and all of his executive committee for once again organising an amazing event.

Tet, or Lunar New Year, is a time for all Australians to reflect on the success of our multicultural society, to celebrate the exceptional contributions our Chinese and Vietnamese communities as well as other Asian communities have made to our great nation. I feel privileged to be part of this colourful, vibrant, diverse community and wish all my constituents of Vietnamese and Chinese backgrounds a very happy Lunar New Year.