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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 582

Mr BURKE (WatsonManager of Opposition Business) (10:26): In the recent honours list, Antoine Kazzi was awarded the Order of Australia medal. Antoine Kazzi's Australian journey began in Australia in 1988. After leaving behind memories of his Lebanese village, Jieh, which was destroyed by war, Tony embarked on a new journey—a journey to reach out to the Arabic community through writing, journalism and poetry. At Lebanese, Maronite and Arabic functions Tony will regularly recite his poetry with an energy, rhythm and passion that is enthralling. He has been the editor-in-chief for El-Telegraph, the largest Arabic newspaper in Australia, for almost 20 years, a role that has seen him oversee the publication of over 3,000 articles on Middle-Eastern and Australian matters. His service and commitment to the Arabic community in Australia deserves recognition. Tony is rightfully honoured as a quality journalist, community leader and great Australian.

In the recent honours list Professor Fadia Ghossayn was awarded the Order of Australia medal. This is a proud moment for Professor Ghossayn, who has made Australia her home since 1999, when she left Lebanon at a time when the country was embroiled in conflict. What makes this recognition particularly special is that Professor Ghossayn is the first woman born in Lebanon to receive the Order of Australia medal. Professor Ghossayn is a founding member and president of the Australian Maronite Professional Council and founding president of the Australian Lebanese Foundation at the University of Sydney. She has worked tirelessly over the years with the White Stone Project, supporting the homeless, assisting people with drug, alcohol and gambling addictions, as well as organising funds to support Australian Lebanese students with university scholarships. These achievements represent the values and principles that are an integral part of the Australian story—the story of a nation of diverse backgrounds, many faiths and a myriad of celebrations all united under one sun. I am honoured to recognise and congratulate Professor Ghossayn.

I was very young when I emerged from the Opera House with my parents one hot January day and saw that a band was about to perform on the Opera House forecourt. There was almost no crowd when they started, but a huge crowd soon gathered. When we returned home Mum looked up in the paper to find out what the band was called. That was the first time I heard the words 'Cold Chisel'.

Some weeks ago Jimmy Barnes returned to the Opera House as part of his Working Class Boy tour. This time he was allowed to perform inside the building. I have been seeing performances at the Sydney Opera House all my life, and it never occurred to me that the most moving night I would experience at the Opera House would be a night with Jimmy Barnes joined onstage by members of his extraordinary family. He told a story of immigration, a story of family violence, a story of survival, a story of finding refuge in music.

In telling his story, just like Rosie Batty has told hers, Jimmy Barnes is helping let others know that it is okay to tell their story too. We need to match their courage with action so that home can be a place of safety for every family member. As you have heard me say before, we need to make sure that we make the right policy decisions so that Australian music is always part of how we tell the stories of this land.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Vamvakinou ): Before I call the member for Petrie, if no member objects, statements will continue for a further 30 minutes.