100213 Chinese New Year Speech

The Chinese Club of Queensland

Chinese New Year Celebrations

2010 - "The Year of the Tiger"

"Special Message for the New Year"

13th February, 2010


 Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Anna Bligh MP,

Chief Justice of Queensland, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC,

Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services, the Honourable Neil Roberts MP,

Federal Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Federal Member for Cook, Mr Scott Morrison MP,

Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for the Arts, Mr John-Paul Langbroek MP,

Honourable Justices,

The Right Honourable, The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Campbell Newman,

Consul-General for the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Ren Gongping,

Commissioner of Police, Commissioner Bob Atkinson APM,

His Grace, The Most Reverend John Bathersby AO DD, Archbishop of Brisbane,

Members of the Legislative Assembly in Queensland,

Brisbane City Councillors,

Members of the Consular Corps in Queensland,

Chairman of the Chinese Club of Queensland, Mr Michael Chan,

Honorary Secretary of the Chinese Club of Queensland, Mr Eddie Liu OBE OAM,

Distinguished guests, including the delegation from Shenzhen, Sister City of Brisbane, led by Mr Chen Siping, Deputy President of Shenzhen Committee of CPCC, representing the Mayor of Shenzhen,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is a pleasure once more to join the Chinese Club of Queensland, members of the Chinese community and their many friends and supporters at this annual celebration to welcome the Chinese New Year.  It certainly doesn't seem a year since we last gathered for this happy occasion - yet here we are, now saying goodbye to the ‘Year of the Ox' and welcoming the ‘Year of the Tiger'.  May we all be inspired throughout this year by the best qualities of the Tiger, according to Chinese astrology; of being courageous and having a fighting spirit, yet at the same time being sensitive and capable of great sympathy.

I must say that I have great sympathy - and great affection - for this tradition of welcoming the Chinese New Year, in accordance with Chinese culture, with plenty of noise and fanfare, surrounded by family and friends.

Having lived and worked as Australia's Consul-General in Hong Kong and had much to do with China-Australia relations over many years - that very important relationship that Michael Chan spoke of so eloquently in his Address of Welcome - it brings back many wonderful memories; to be greeted by the Lion Dancers, to hear the familiar drums, to see the red and gold luck envelopes on the tables and to share in the enthusiasm and energy of the Chinese community as it launches and celebrates the New Year.

For Brisbane's Chinese community this year there is an extra cause for celebration, with the opening this weekend of the newly renovated Chinatown Mall.  The Mall has been a colourful and familiar feature of our city for a long time - a testament to the strength and vibrancy of Chinese culture and commerce - and its ‘makeover' and expansion reminds us that Queensland's Chinese community itself continues to grow and develop.

It has ever been thus, since the late 1800's, but this growth has been particularly marked in recent years - the product of a new wave of immigrants coming to Australia from China.  Last year they numbered around 25,000, many of whom have chosen to settle in Queensland.  There are, as well, over 20,000 Chinese students studying in Queensland.  And with this surge of new residents and students has come a new diversity in regional Chinese cultures - adding further richness to Queensland's already rich multicultural society.

We welcome these new arrivals - as we welcome this New Year.  We wish them happiness and good fortune as they settle and study here.  Brisbane - Queensland - is proud of its Chinese community and the contribution it makes to our State.  We are honouring that contribution at the moment in a wonderful touring exhibition organised by the Queensland Museum "Queensland Dragon. Chinese in the North", currently on display at the Hou Wang Temple In Atherton.  This exhibition features hundreds of historical photographs that tell of the importance for the development of North Queensland of five Chinese community groups in Cairns, Port Douglas, Innisfail, Cooktown, Atherton and Croydon.  It's good to be reminded of that contribution, which of course, was replicated in many parts of the State, and I was pleased - but not surprised - to learn that a number of the descendants of those early Chinese immigrants are members of the Chinese Club of Queensland and part of the Brisbane Chinese community which is hosting this celebration this evening.

In thanking the Club for its generous hospitality, on behalf of their many guests this evening and in the name of the people of Queensland, I pay tribute to the generations of Chinese in Queensland who have made such a distinctive contribution to the history and growth of our State and who have also made their distinctive culture and traditions part now of our way of life.

Embracing those traditions, I welcome the Year of the Tiger and wish you all a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.

Kung Hay Fat Choy!