Jan 27, 2017

Address to the Chinese New Year Eve celebrations – Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land on which we meet and pay respects to elders past and present.

On behalf of Bill Shorten and the entire the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, I wish the Australian Chinese community a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.

This year we celebrate the Year of the Rooster. The Year of the Rooster is associated with a hard working mentality, courage, talent, humour and honesty – I hope you and your family and friends enjoy these qualities in abundance.

Tonight, as we savour the colour and spectacle, the flavours and magic of this celebration.

We join each other in putting aside the regrets and sadness of the old year just passed and we look forward with optimism and hope to a new year of greater health and happiness for the people we love.

In doing so, Australians everywhere are celebrating more than the beginning of a new year.

We celebrate the continuation of an old and continuing friendship between Australia and China.

A relationship that was established and set in stone by the ‘father’ of Australia-China relations, Gough Whitlam.

And we celebrate all of you, the people who have made it possible.

There’s an old Chinese proverb we like to quote in the Labor Party:

“When you go to the well to draw water, remember who dug the well”.

Tonight – we celebrate the bravery, creativity and hard work of all who have gone before us.

The Chinese community has a fascinating chapter in our Australian story. Each and every one of you has a story.  A story told in your families.  A story of working hard, taking risks, building communities and making sacrifices so your children can enjoy a better future.

We celebrate the marvellous contributions Chinese Australians have made to our great nation.  In every facet and field of our national life we are a better, bigger, bolder and a smarter country because of the contribution you and your fellow Chinese Australians have made.

Chinese New Year is also a time for all Australians to celebrate the gifts the Chinese community has given us and also a time for us all to rejoice in the rich success of the multicultural society we have built together.

Citizens serving our community, contributing to the common good and making the country we live in a better place.

I trust that each and every one of you will celebrate Chinese New Year with a family feast, along with many sweets, gifts and fireworks.

May the Year of the Rooster bring good fortune and good health to you all.

Best wishes for the year of the rooster – Gōng xǐ fā cái, Jī nián dà jí. 

Happy Year of the Rooster.