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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3462

Mr LAUNDY (Reid) (10:45): It is an honour to rise following on from the member for Chifley talking about an International Women's Day event. I had that absolute privilege a couple of weeks ago to attend an event in Auburn in my electorate of Reid. It was a great snapshot of how multicultural Australia lives. We have some wonderful organisations in the electorate of Reid that offer services far beyond that. Settlement Services International manages cases of newly arrived refugees. The CEO, Violet Roumeliotis, Peter Zographakis—it is the Greek mafia in charge of SSI!—and all the team there, along with Auburn Diversity Services, most capably run by Tia Roko and all of her team, put on the most amazing morning.

I took my wife, Suzie, along and we watched in amazement at the broad diversity of backgrounds of the people who partook in that day as they celebrated the opportunities that this country gives them to be a part of our wonderful, vibrant community and make a real difference. It struck me that in the countries they have come from and whatever has brought them here, the one thing I heard time and time again that day was the opportunities they have here versus in their homelands. They are truly great Australians and they appreciate it greatly.

There is probably no better illustration and, at the risk of embarrassing Najeeba, than Najeeba Wazefadost. She is a Hazara Afghani and she ran the ceremony. Here is a refugee, now Australian citizen, who came to this country some ten years ago and who speaks better English, quite frankly, than I do—although that is not hard. She ran the ceremony, she knows everyone in our community, she works with Tia at ADSI to implement some great programs on the ground and she works with Violet for SSI. It is great to think that the circle has come back to the end for Najeeba and she can give back to our community in Reid to deliver great results on the ground.

I know it is no different for the member for Chifley in his electorate. He and I talk about this a lot. Our paths overlap so we run into each other a lot. What Suzie and I took away that day and what we see time and time again on the ground in the frontline in my wonderful electorate is it is great to be surrounded by community minded people that put in day in, day out on the frontlines to make a real difference. They do not seek praise; they do it because they believe in the cause. They want to give back to our country, they are great people and they deserve our praise, and they most duly get it from me.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Randall ): Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.