Parliament Speeches

what's happening / speeches / Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-138613

Hansard session: Fifty-Eighth Parliament, First Session (58-1)

Lunar New Year

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (19:54:35):

Lunar New Year in my electorate across the St George area and throughout New South Wales is truly one of my favourite times of the year. This is because time and time again, New South Wales has demonstrated that we do it the best. It is always such a pleasure to gather with our Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities and many others in celebration. It is an occasion I look forward to each and every year, but not just because of the beautiful lights and lanterns, the red envelopes and of course, the food. Whilst these are all fantastic things, I truly believe that the most important thing about Lunar New Year is celebrating with family, friends and loved ones.

It represents a time of joy for so many in our local communities across New South Wales. It is a time to share in good wishes as we usher in another year of happiness, prosperity, luck and good health. We are truly blessed to have some of the largest Lunar New Year events in the world outside of Asia. This year we celebrate the year of the Dragon and, because in Chinese culture the Dragon is significant as a symbol of nobility, honour and success, it will be a very lucky year ahead indeed! Those born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be full of energy, intelligence and natural courage. We know of course that this year will bring about opportunities and change for many of us—and we welcome this with open arms. Right across New South Wales we will see, and have already started to see, street parties, live entertainment, lion dances, dragon boat racing, light and art installations and much more. There are opportunities for all of us to get involved and to celebrate our diversity.

Lunar New Year is a time to come together and participate in traditions that have been ongoing for thousands of years–not just in my electorate of Oatley but right throughout New South Wales. In Sydney, in particular, celebrations can date back for over 85 years with iconic lion dances taking place as early as 1937. This legacy illustrates the timelessness of these traditions here in New South Wales. Lunar New Year has been uniting communities in New South Wales for longer than many of us have been alive. Of course, it is important that we pay homage to this heritage in our own unique way. That is why in January the Coalition called on the Minns' State Labor Government to continue that tradition of lighting up the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House in red to celebrate this special occasion.

Rooted in ancient beliefs, the colour red is thought to have protective qualities of warding off evil spirits and ushering in positive energy, good fortune and happiness. This is something that has been done for many years and we need to continue to show our support and respect for our diverse communities across the State. We must continue the traditions that have made Lunar New Year what it has become here in New South Wales. I was pleased to hear and to witness that the Government answered our calls: Yesterday, the Sydney Opera House was lit up. I was beyond excited once again to be able to witness this spectacular event and join the community—not just from my electorate but from right across Sydney—in celebration. Lunar New Year events would not be possible without the support of the people of New South Wales and our diverse communities living and working here. As the shadow Minister for Multiculturalism and a former Minister for Multiculturalism, I know that events like these provide us with the opportunity to learn from each other, to celebrate our success, and to celebrate our diversity. I have said time and time again in this place, here in New South Wales our diversity is our strength.

The fabric of our nation has been shaped by the cultures, histories and stories of countless individuals. I extend my gratitude to the people of New South Wales for their continued support and enthusiasm, which has ensured that Lunar New Year remains a treasured event in our calendar. Our State is stronger with the contributions of people from all walks of life. Lunar New Year gives us an opportunity to recognise and celebrate this. Once again I wish everyone a very happy Lunar New Year for 2024. I hope that this year brings great hope, prosperity and peace to everyone who celebrates.