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Kung Hai Fat Choi!
As Federal Member for Barton, it is my honour to welcome you to the City of Kogarah to celebrate Chinese New Year: the year of the horse.
This is the twelfth year that Kogarah City Council has hosted these celebrations and in that time the event has gone from strength to strength. It is my hope that tonight we will continue in the spirit of excitement that we’ve always enjoyed across the years.
Celebrating Lunar New Year is always an occasion for good cheer as we wish luck and prosperity to our friends and family. This year will be no exception and we have a magnificent series of events and performances lined up for the enjoyment of the whole community.
Walking through our city streets, I am always reminded of the vibrancy and diversity of our city of Kogarah and our whole electorate of Barton. We have cause to be proud of the way we live together in peace and camaraderie. We have cause to be proud of the strong ethnic communities of which we are part, because they add such colour and life to the area. This city is a living embodiment of a cultural melting pot.
Of those Kogarah residents who were born overseas, the People’s Republic of China is the top-listed origin. Chinese culture is such a major component of this area and I am sure we would all agree that the cultural gifts brought to the Australian community by Chinese migrants have become indispensable to our way of life as a diverse, interesting and prosperous nation. The ethos and values of the Chinese community – resourcefulness, diligence, kindness and humility – have enriched our area.
As Member for Barton, a mayor for six years and a councillor for fourteen, I have enjoyed a longstanding friendship with the Chinese community. As your Federal member, I have Chinese-speaking staff in my office so my door is always open to Chinese constituents.
This year is the year of the Horse, the zodiac sign for people born in 2014. The Horse is a symbol of power, dynamism and positivity. 2014 specifically is the year of the Wood Horse. In Taoist thought, wood is a symbol of strength, flexibility, and warmth. At its heart, the year of the Wood Horse is a herald of thriving change. Let us all – Horses and otherwise – seek ways to grow and expand this Lunar New Year.
The Chinese have been a beacon to the world in seeking ways to make their lives and their nation more efficient, successful and accomplished. In the same way, we should all seek to better ourselves.
It is fantastic that so many of you come out in force to celebrate Lunar New Year as a community.
Thank you to all the performers who have blessed us with their skills and to all those still yet to present.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our generous sponsors for their valuable support of this event. It is one of the biggest events on Kogarah’s cultural calendar and without community support and involvement it would not be possible, so thank you for the role you have played.
Tonight’s festivities mark a new opportunity for growth as individuals, families and as a whole community. Let’s embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie before us and commit to new heights as we pray for prosperity in the year head.