Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Brisbane Chinese New Year Reception
Speech delivered by the Honourable Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, Acting Governor of Queensland:
Minister Hinchliffe, representing the Premier; Leader of the Opposition; Lord Mayor; Consul General Xu; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
As Chief Justice, and currently Acting Governor of our State, it is a great honour to represent the people of Queensland at this Reception to mark the 2020 Chinese Lunar New Year. I particularly thank the Consul General for the kind invitation to join tonight’s celebrations on this joyous and auspicious occasion.
Soon after Dr Xu arrived in Brisbane in July 2017, I had the great honour of welcoming both him and the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Jingye Cheng, to my chambers.
Just last month, in December, Queensland was very pleased to host a senior delegation from the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress. This coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Sister State agreement between Queensland and Shanghai.
These high-level exchanges provide excellent opportunities to promote trade and investment, and encourage closer ties in education, science, technology, arts, culture, sports, and government.
As Acting Governor, I congratulate Dr Xu and the Consulate personnel on their continuing endeavours to promote these bonds for the benefit of the people of China and of Queensland.
Of course, tonight has an important – and central – celebratory complexion.
For the 140,000 Queenslanders of Chinese ancestry, the Lunar New Year is one of the most important events on the calendar, marked bytime-honoured traditions of visits to family and friends, special meals and gift-giving. And it’s delightful that Chinese New Year has also become a cherished part of wider Queensland life.
Over the next few weeks, in towns and cities all over our State, public squares and malls will see parades and lively performances as we usher in the new lunar year.
2020 heralds not just the Year of the Rat, it also marks a reset of the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac.
On a more sombre note, though, many people in drought and bushfire affected parts of our State will need to demonstrate the resourcefulness said to be characteristic of those born in the Year of the Rat. We are only at the beginning of 2020 but already it is obvious that these disasters have made and will make the year extraordinarily hard for so many. Most of our fellow citizens, it is good to see, are responding with sympathy and generosity.
I once again thank the Consul General for the warm hospitality afforded to us all tonight. I will soon have the honour of presenting an award to the overall winner of the “When Koala Meets Panda” video competition. It’s a fine expression of the spirit of comity and goodwill which everyone in this room tonight seeks to foster between our nations.
Happy Chinese New Year to you all. Thank you.