Lunar New Year

13 February, 2019

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:43): It is with great pleasure today that I speak about one of the most celebrated festivals around the world and in South Australia, which is the Lunar New Year. Our many multicultural communities in South Australia have certainly been very busy in organising functions to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Pig. Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Asia and beyond. It is commonly known in China and for overseas Chinese people as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, in Vietnam as the Tet Festival, in Korea as Seollal and as Losar for Buddhists in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and India.

This year, the first day of the Lunar New Year took place on Tuesday 5 February 2019, in accordance with the first new moon of the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year is also celebrated in many countries and regions around the world with large overseas Chinese and Asian populations, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Europe, Canada and, of course, Australia.

This year, 2019, marks the Year of the Pig, the twelfth animal in the Chinese zodiac, and the last animal to arrive at the Jade Emperor's party. Apparently he overslept and was therefore given the last spot in the zodiac order. However, the pig is associated with prosperity and good fortune and is blessed with success in life. The pig also has a romantic personality. For those of you who have watched the monkey king story, you would know that the pig is rather romantic, loves to socialise with friends and family, and is always enthusiastic and generous.

Lunar New Year is well celebrated by many active and vibrant multicultural community organisations in South Australia. It is a great honour to be invited to attend so many wonderful and colourful events associated with Lunar New Year.

Our Premier, the Hon. Steven Marshall, is passionate about celebrating the cultural diversity and achievements of our multicultural communities. It was wonderful to be a part of the Chinese New Year dinner that was co-hosted by the Premier and the Chinese consul general, Madam He Lanjing, on Thursday 17 January 2019 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

It was the first Chinese New Year event in the 2019 calendar, which demonstrated the commitment and strong relationship between the South Australian government and the Chinese consulate office in South Australia. The dinner was well attended and was a great opportunity for the Premier to pay tribute to the Chinese community for their enormous contribution and, at the same time, to express his heartfelt warm wishes on behalf of the state government in welcoming the auspicious New Year. The Premier and the community also congratulated and welcomed the new Chinese consul general, Madam He Lanjing, on her new posting to Adelaide. We look forward to working closely with her and her team in strengthening the strong bilateral relationship between South Australia and China.

On the night, I received overwhelming feedback from the community, who felt very special to be invited to the dinner. They deeply appreciated the co-hosting of the Chinese New Year dinner and they thanked the Premier and the consul general for their mutual commitment to build a prosperous future for the community. I am pleased that many distinguished guests attended the dinner, including His Excellency the Governor, Deputy Premier the Hon. Vickie Chapman MP, and other ministers, including the Hon. David Ridgway, the Hon. Tim Whetstone, the Hon. Corey Wingard, the Hon. Rachel Sanderson, the Hon. Vincent Tarzia, Ms Katrine Hildyard (representing the Leader of the Opposition), Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor and other distinguished guests.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank community organisations who have worked diligently to organise meaningful events throughout the Lunar New Year period this year. I thank Zhu-Lin Buddhist temple, Quan Am Tu Vietnamese temple, Chinatown Adelaide, Vietnamese Women's Association, Vietnamese Community in Australia, Malaysia Club of South Australia, Singapore Business and Social Association, Tamang Society of Australia, Overseas Chinese Association of SA, Chinese Welfare Services of SA, South Australian Hainan Association, Teo Chew Association of South Australia and the South Australian Oceania Federation of Chinese Organisations from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Thank you all for organising all of the events.

I would like to wish everyone in Parliament House a very happy and prosperous Year of the Pig.