Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (10:55): My electorate recently celebrated the Lunar New Year with the Vietnamese Tet Festival and many Chinese New Year celebrations. My Chinese and Vietnamese communities came together with many families and friends to welcome in the Year of the Monkey. By tradition, those born in the Year of the Monkey are believed to be caring, energetic, versatile, self-assured and sometimes cheeky.
On the weekend I, along with the Leader of the Opposition and many other parliamentary colleagues, attended the Vietnamese Tet Festival in Fairfield Showground. It attracted many people over the weekend—about 20,000 people in all. It was a very good cultural event, catering very much to the Vietnamese community. I would particularly like to thank Dr Thang Ha, the President of the VCA New South Wales chapter, Tania Huynh, Davy Nguyen, Andie Lam, Sydney Nguyen, Tu Le and Thomas Dinh for making these events a reality and also welcoming the broader community to the event.
Last Sunday evening, I also attended the Phuoc Hue Temple in Wetherill Park to take part in the midnight countdown to the New Year. Representing the most multicultural community in this country, I have the opportunity of enjoying many cultural events—and these events are absolutely fabulous. The Phuoc Hue Temple has one of Australia's largest Vietnamese Buddhist congregations, with more than 40,000 people taking part in the celebrations each year. The temple was established in 1980 and has a long, respected tradition of spiritual leadership to Vietnamese Buddhists.
Apart from it being a place of worship, the temple is also home to a resource centre for cultural heritage and community education. I would like to thank the venerable monks and nuns for not only looking after the spiritual interests and needs of my Buddhist community, but for the work they do throughout the broader community, particularly the charitable works they undertake.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Australian Chinese Buddhist Society and specifically recognise my good friend and the Chairman of that Society, James Chan OAM, the President, Vincent Kong, as well as, Sen Huynh, Jensen Tran and Tony Trinh, who did a marvellous job for our Chinese community in celebrating the Lunar New Year at the Mingyue Lay Temple in Bonnyrigg. They are all very successful businessmen in their own right. They volunteer their time, skills and energy to ensure that the needs of the Chinese community are met and their spiritual needs are catered for. I wish all residents of Fowler and the broader community a very prosperous and harmonious Year of the Monkey.