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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1474

Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (16:11): I rise to acknowledge a great Australian and a great local, Lawrence Dimech. Lawrence came to Australia from Malta back in 1956—a couple of years before I was born—and he has well and truly made Australia his home, along with waves of migrants from Malta, Italy and Greece in the fifties and sixties. And while there has not been hardly any migration from Malta in the past 20 years, the Maltese community in my electorate remains a fundamentally important part of our community.

I want to acknowledge Lawrence today for an award he received quite recently. He returns to Malta quite regularly with his grandchildren, but recently he went to Malta for a very special reason—that is, to receive the Maltese National Order of Merit. This award is rarely given to people outside of the Mediterranean republic, but it was given to Lawrence in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the Maltese people both here in Australia and back in Malta. Lawrence is 77 now; he is a journalist and former diplomat, and he has genuinely contributed greatly to our country. He was inducted by the President of Malta, George Abela, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. I know he is incredibly pleased and we in Parramatta are incredibly proud of him and wish him all the best.