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Distinguished guests, leaders of Egyptian and Australian Business; Members of the Australian Egyptian Council Forum; ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured to be here tonight to represent the Prime Minister, The Honourable Tony Abbott at the 2014 Australian Egyptian Council Forum Gala Dinner.
The Prime Minister regrets that he is unable to join us this evening.
As the Federal Member for Barton, I am delighted to be celebrating this auspicious event which is an amalgamation of the Higher School Certificate High Achievers’ award with the NSW Egyptian of the Year.
Tonight also marks the inaugural award for Friend of the Egyptian Community, the recipient nominated for their support and contribution. As the Federal Member for Barton, I would like to congratulate each and every one of you this evening on your achievements which are the products of hard work and fortitude. You are proof that if you have a go, and you are determined, you are limitless in what you can achieve.
I would also like to take the opportunity to commend the efforts of the Australian Egyptian Council Forum which promote and cultivate cultural exchanges between the Australian and Egyptian communities. In addition, the Council actively engages with other communities within our multicultural societies. As the Federal Member representing one of the most culturally diverse electorates in NSW, I fully appreciate the efforts to preserve and strengthen Egyptian community values. Furthermore, the Australian Egyptian Council Forum provides opportunities for Australian Egyptian youth to participate within society and help them reach their full potentials.
I am privileged to celebrate with you the achievements of all outstanding individuals present this evening in categories of academic and community success.
Year 12 is one of the most challenging years in the first 13 years of schooling, with pupils digesting vast amounts of information, learning about the complexities of modern society whilst simultaneously preparing for their university entrance exams. The pressure to do well in an increasingly-competitive society can undoubtedly push young men and women to their limits.
The individuals here tonight, exemplifies that ambition and determination are positive catalysts to exceptional results. In fact, ten (10) students received Australian Tertiary Admission Rankings of over 99% and five (5) topped the state. This is a stellar achievement. Pertinent to good academic performance is the undisputed contribution from their teachers, parents and schools who provide essential support during a critical time. I must acknowledge the wonderful work of their educators, school communities and families which have all helped to manifest such outstanding results.
Aside from recognising HSC high achievers, the Australian Egyptian Council Forum also recognises important individuals in society who make substantial contributions to the Egyptian community. One individual is chosen each year from areas of academia, law and order, medicine, social and community services, arts and the media. These individuals are truly devoted to their community and to strengthening Egyptian Australian communal ties. They are role models to our youth, and encourage community efforts to promote Egyptian culture within society and develop positive relations between Egypt and Australia at communal, government and non-government levels.
The focus of the Australian Egyptian Council Forum has been one of achievement. When this is coupled with merit, as demonstrated this evening, produces remarkable results which deserve to be celebrated. I have no doubt that esteemed individuals here tonight will provide inspiration to others in our community.
Australia is a nation of opportunity and reward, and we are limitless in what we strive to achieve. The men and women here this evening remind us that anything is possible with ambition and fortitude. Furthermore, self-less individuals have given tirelessly to the community to benefit those who need it more. They deserve the limelight this evening to showcase the fruits of their labour which have tremendously profited the Egyptian and Australian community.
I am proud to be here tonight to commend each and every one of you.