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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 591

Ms BANKS (Chisholm) (11:00): Over the summer, like many Australians, the people of Chisholm spent time relaxing with their families and friends, enjoying summer traditions which are not limited to barbecues, the beach and the cricket. There are many other events and traditions across different cultures that are embraced as part of Australian society.

In Melbourne, the pre-Christmas period was marred by the knowledge that a terrorist plot was planned in the vicinity of Federation Square. The plot was foiled and, in true Australian spirit, Australians did not stay away from churches, Christmas carols or big events such as the Boxing Day test. We continued to celebrate and enjoy our traditions, our diverse way of life, in defiance and as a united sign that no degree of fear will stop us from celebrating our traditions in harmony.

Post Christmas, in the last couple of months I have had the pleasure of representing our Prime Minister at the Theofania Blessing of the Waters in Port Melbourne, organised by the Greek community, and the opening of Chinese New Year in Chinatown. I have also welcomed many new citizens from all corners of the world to our great country, the most successful multicultural nation on this earth. On Australia Day, we celebrated this wonderful occasion and the honour of those people becoming Australians. It was a proud day for those people, as it is for the many Australians who celebrate the day every year in their own unique way, with freedom and harmony.

However, only days before Australia Day, an unthinkable tragedy happened in Bourke Street, in Melbourne's CBD. It broke our hearts. On Australia Day I reflected that, particularly in times of need and crisis, the essence and good spirit of our country and its people come to the fore. No matter our differences in politics, opinions, faith, gender, heritage or ethnicity, we express our love, deep pride and solidarity in being Australian in a humble and understated way in a time of crisis, by our intuitive actions and gestures and by our sincere and genuine praise for those who have done us proud by their deeds, be their small or grand. This is the core of what I love about Australia and Australians.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Bird ): In accordance with standing order 193 the time for members ' constituency statements has concluded.