This weekend, hundreds of thousands of Australians will join over a billion people around the world in celebrating Chinese New Year. The Lunar new year has truly become a global celebration, and Sydney will be no exception. It will, in fact, play host to the largest Chinese new year celebration outside Asia.
With what will be a spectacular festival, centred on our harbour and China Town, Chinese New Year has become an important part of our visitor economy. It is estimated that some 250,000 people will travel to Australia to celebrate the Lunar New Year with family and friends.
In my own electorate, events will occur from Luna Park to Lane Cove, and to Chatswood, which has a long tradition of marking Chinese new year with its own very vibrant festival. These events across the North Shore and around Australia have broader significance in reminding us of our success as a multicultural society and the incredible contribution of those who have made Australia home and who come from our own region.
Chinese New Year 2018 will usher in the Year of the Dog. Those born in this year are reputed to have the traits of loyalty and honour—characteristics which are of course found in this place with such great abundance! While much of our focus will be on the food, fireworks and festivals of the next two weeks, at its core, Chinese New Year is a time for families to come together and to strengthen the bonds of kinship.
I want to wish all Australians celebrating the Lunar New Year a very prosperous 12 months ahead, and, to my own constituents – Xin nian kuai le! Gong xi fa cai!