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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 12345


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (10:42): I rise to highlight the variety of cultural events that have recently taken place in my electorate of Bennelong. On many occasions I have stood in this place to promote the active Chinese and Korean communities who help to weave a multicultural fabric unique to our Bennelong community. On the first Saturday in October I was delighted to welcome the annual Korean Festival to Eastwood Park, with an estimated 15,000 people flocking to our region to enjoy the sights, sounds, aromas and tastes of this vibrant community. One week later, I was proud to be guest of honour at the Australian Malaysian Singaporean Association 42nd Annual Gala Dinner and also to represent the Leader of the Opposition at the Australian Chinese Charity Foundation's Annual Dinner. Both of these events raise funds for noble causes, further entrenching these communities into the fabric of Australian society.

The following weekend was the City of Ryde Granny Smith Festival, which celebrates one of our region's most famous former residents, Maria Ann Smith—also known as Granny Smith—who in 1868 grew the first of the green apples that carry her name. An estimated 90,000 people crammed into the streets of Eastwood as our region turned into one of the major festive destinations in Sydney.

Coinciding with the Granny Smith Festival was the second annual Bennelong Cup table tennis series, which saw the Chinese women's and Korean men's team travel here to challenge Australia's Olympic representatives. This included the first ever sporting competition in the Great Hall of Parliament House, as 120 Bennelong students joined the players, the coaches, the Chinese and Korean ambassadors, the Minister for Sport, community leaders and my parliamentary colleagues for a historic occasion. The rest of the competition was held at the Ryde Community and Sports Centre and also featured players from the Korean wheelchair table tennis team who wowed us with their extraordinary talents. With the help of president Hugh Lee and past president Brad Chan from the Australian Asian Association of Bennelong, and Andrew Hill from the Ryde Business Forum, we converted the Eastwood Mall to host exhibition matches with our international guests. I am very grateful to Hugh, Brad and Andrew, as this event would not have happened without them.

I have worked closely with Hugh Lee and I am very proud to serve as patron of the AAAB. On 9 November I will be joining all my colleagues and friends at the AAAB for their annual dinner and presentation for the Multicultural Citizen of the Year Award.

The AAAB provides a unique level of assistance to new migrants confronted with the challenges in unfamiliar surroundings. This help enables the new Australians to contribute quickly towards our society through involvement in the community. I strongly support the work of the AAAB, and I am grateful to Hugh Lee for his friendship and support as we have worked closely together to promote the many great multicultural events and services across the Bennelong region.