Speeches

Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Private Members’ Business - Chinese Australians

June 15, 2020

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (11:11): I will start with a quote:

"My dream would be a multicultural society, one that is diverse and where every man, woman and child are treated equally. I dream of a world where all people of all races work together in harmony."

Those are the words of the late Nelson Mandela, a global human rights activist, but his words put in perspective the struggle for equality faced by many minority groups
around the world. Furthermore, I reaffirm the importance of taking action to protect the social harmony of our diverse communities and, in doing so, reflect on the
success of our democracy, which is so important to that. I have the honour of representing one of the most multicultural communities in the whole of this country,
one that is made up of a very diverse range of people from diverse cultures and religious backgrounds. I've witnessed firsthand the benefits that come from multicultural communities.

All Australians should be able to go about their lives free from discrimination, vilification and hate motivated violence. We must support zero tolerance when it comes to any approach dealing with racism in this country. I'm certainly concerned about the incidents that have been reported more recently concerning racial abuse directed to our Australian-Chinese community, as we grapple with the health and economic crisis brought about by the Coronavirus. I fully support the position of the Australian government for a full and independent inquiry into this pandemic. Despite the sabre-rattling of the Chinese Communist Party, we must stand in full support of our successful diverse society. Perhaps China might care to reflect on its own treatment of the Uyghur minority, before casting aspersions elsewhere. However,
this discussion must also extend to many other minority groups, both here and abroad, who are subject to disadvantage and inequity. At the forefront, I would
certainly suggest, our own First Nations people.

Whilst it may be politically beneficial for the American President to refer to COVID-19 as the 'Chinese disease', clearly it has absolutely nothing to do with the Australian-Chinese community. I take this opportunity to draw on the significant contribution of our vibrant Chinese community within my electorate, drawing on examples from some notable individuals, namely Harry Hunt, James Chan and Dr William Trinh. All are of Asian heritage and they have all proven themselves to be great Australians and have been recognised as such, by the awarding of the Order of Australia for their outstanding contribution to our society. Harry Hunt is synonymous with the success of Liverpool, both in economic and charitable terms. He's a successful businessman, including a hotel owner. He's President of the South West Sydney Tourism Taskforce, a former president of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Salvation Army Red Cross Shield Appeal and a Regional Ambassador for the Red Cross. Harry continues to make a difference to our local community and to the lives of many that live there. Most recently, he offered his hotel, free of charge, to any person that was impacted by the horrendous bushfire season earlier this year.

James Chan is a leader of the Chinese community in my electorate. James is a very successful business owner and operates a very popular Chinese restaurant. James is also a foundation member of the Australian Chinese Buddhist Society and currently serves as its chairman. Under his leadership, the society has held many fundraising events for the Red Cross, the Queensland Flood Appeal and the 2004 tsunami. Most recently, it raised over $80,000 for bushfire affected communities. I'm very proud to call James my Chinese brother.

William Trinh, who is a very successful optometrist, with his practice in Cabramatta, is also the chairman of Australian Health Humanitarian Aid. He serves as a university lecturer and is certainly committed to the training of the next generation of optometrists. As the chairman of AHHA, he regularly travels overseas with over 300 health professionals to provide cataract surgery, dental procedures and medical health assistance to those less fortunate, particularly in countries such as the Philippines, Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia.

It is people like these that exemplify what it is to be a great Australian and who demonstrate the significance of our multicultural community. We must stand united against all forms of discrimination in our community, including any misguided judgement directed against our Australian Chinese community. Any such discrimination stands in stark contrast to our values.

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