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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12124

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (09:36): Last Sunday, I attended the 34th anniversary of the founding of the Mingyue Lay Temple, the Chinese Buddhist temple located in Bonnyrigg, in the heart of my electorate of Fowler. In fact, the establishment of this vibrant and bustling temple, now a fine example of Chinese ornate architecture, can be traced back to the early 1980s when this very prominent building in my electorate started out as a small fibro house located in the south-west of Sydney. Led by a small group of local Indo-Chinese residents, this temple has developed into a prominent religious shrine through the generous donations of the local community and its many benefactors, including Mr Sop Sisomphou. Mr Sisomphou is a Laotian-Chinese refugee who donated over half his earnings to the construction of this temple. Under his leadership, the Australian Chinese Buddhist Society was established, the community organisation that is responsible for the administration and day-to-day running of the Mingyue Lay Temple.

This year also marks the inauguration ceremony of the 18th executive and management committee of the Australian Chinese Buddhist Society, which saw Mr Vincent Kong re-elected as president for the second time. Under his leadership and that of the chairman, Mr James Chan, the temple's function goes beyond that of religious services, and I have witnessed first-hand on many occasions their fundraising activities for the welfare of Australians in need, as well as for overseas humanitarian causes. Their charitable works and community endeavours are second to none and are efforts which have promoted and continue to promote diversity and inclusion in our community.

Australia prides itself on being a multicultural nation and it is organisations like the Australian Chinese Buddhist Society and the Mingyue Lay Temple that make an extremely significant difference in the lives of many people, particularly those living in my community. On behalf of a very grateful community, I thank them for all they do. The Australian Chinese Buddhist Society and the Mingyue Lay Temple serve as a beacon of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion in our very diverse community that I have the honour to represent, and I look forward to working closely with Vincent Kong, James Chan and the rest of their management committee for many years to come.