Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (10:29): Tonight I will have the pleasure of joining over a thousand Vietnamese families at the midnight celebration at the Phuoc Hue Temple in Wetherill Park to welcome in the Lunar New Year, or Tet, as the Vietnamese refer to it. Lunar New Year is one of the most important cultural events celebrated in my community. It is a time to spend with family and friends, a time for personal reflection, a time in which the community takes a moment to remember and pay respects to their ancestors.
This year marks the year of the earth dog. Traditionally, the dog is associated with people who are courageous, clever, lively and loyal. As part of the Lunar New Year tradition this coming week, I will have the honour of visiting a number of Vietnamese and Chinese temples and churches in my electorate. I will also attend the annual Vietnamese Tet festival in Fairfield showground. It is one of the most popular festivals in the local calendar and ordinarily is attended by over 40,000 people. I congratulate the Vietnamese community of Australia, New South Wales chapter, for the hard work they've invested in organising this most-anticipated event. The line dancing, the traditional dress or ao dai, the fantastic Vietnamese cuisine and the fireworks all add to the general carnival for the families who come together to showcase Vietnamese culture.
I would like to particularly congratulate the president of VCA, Paul Huy Nguyen, his deputy and the executive for their tireless efforts in preparing for this event. I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge our Chinese community, in particular James Chan and Vincent Kong of the Australian Chinese Buddhist Society, who have hosted many marvellous events and celebrations for the Chinese community at the Mingyue Lay Temple in Bonnyrigg.
Lunar New Year is a time for all Australians to celebrate the success of our multicultural community and the exceptional contribution the Chinese and Vietnamese communities have made to our great nation. I feel very privileged to be part of this colourful, vibrant, diverse community in which the Vietnamese, Chinese and many other communities live harmoniously, and I wish them and all members of our community a harmonious and prosperous Year of the Dog. To my Vietnamese constituents: Chuc Mung Num Moi. To my Chinese constituents: Gung Hay Fat Choy.