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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 138

Mr LEESER (Berowra) (16:33): I rise today and wish you a happy new year—not just a happy new year in the sense of the Australian calendar but also a happy Lunar New Year, which is what I want to talk about today.

The Lunar New Year is an extremely important festival, which is celebrated by, among others, Australia's vibrant and strong Chinese and Korean communities. This year, under the Chinese zodiac, we welcome the Year of the Rooster. More than 12½ thousand people of Chinese ancestry have made their home in my electorate of Berowra. The Chinese have been in Australia since the 1840s and have made an important and long-lasting contribution to our society.

In my electorate, the Cherrybrook Chinese Community Association—led by their president, the indefatigable Jenny Lau—fosters Chinese culture and language skills and broader community participation. I was delighted to join the Cherrybrook Chinese Community Association for their new year's dinner on Sunday night for the ninth year in a row. There were wonderful lion dancers and a magnificent banquet. Jenny Lau was recently named the Epping electorate woman of the year, and I acknowledge the good judgement of my state colleague Damien Tudehope in that regard. Congratulations, Jenny, for all of your hard work, and also congratulations to your vice-president, Stephen Lang, treasurer, Dennis Loh, secretary, Polly Chan, and assistant treasurer, Alice Ho, for the continued success and prosperity of the association. I also acknowledge the work over many, many years of the great calligrapher and former president Yue-yan Chan.

I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge several other important Chinese community associations making a fantastic contribution across Sydney. The Chinese Australian Services Society provides excellent services to seniors in the Chinese community, and I acknowledge the enormous contribution made by Henry Pan, who was the founder of the association, and Tony Pang, their tireless executive director. I also recognise the Chinese Australian Forum, a group dedicated to providing the Chinese community with a voice in the Australian political process. I was delighted to speak at the forum's federal election debate last year, and I thank former president Patrick Voon and current president, Kenrick Cheah, for the positive way in which they provide a voice to the Chinese community. Members may be surprised to know that I am actually the first member of the Chinese Australian Forum to be elected to this parliament.

I want to thank the following members of the Chinese community for their support and friendship for many years: Ben Chow; Hudson and Eve Chen, who run the Liberal Party's Chinese council; Helen Sham-Ho, a friend and mentor of 20 years; Eugene and Hayley Liao; Steve Khouw; Matthew Lo; Sherry Wang and John Shu; Greg Dy; Beth Goh; Geoffrey Li; Vincent So; David and Maria Chin—

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 16 : 36 to 16 : 50

Mr LEESER: Felix Lam; and Jane Li and Stephen Loh.

Lunar New Year is also celebrated by the Korean community. More than 2,600 Koreans live in my electorate, and I acknowledge their contribution to our community, including people like Paul Jung, Paul Kim and Hansie Joo. I wish all my Chinese constituents 'Gong ci fa cai', and my Korean constituents 'Saehae bok mani badeuseyo'!