The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:54): I rise today with a heavy heart to speak about the devastating second wave of the coronavirus currently unfolding in India. India, sadly, has become the second country in the world, after the United States, to tally more than 20 million total infections when the government announced 357,000 new cases yesterday, and over 220,000 people have died from the disease thus far.
The Premier of South Australia, the Hon. Steven Marshall, made a compassionate ministerial statement in parliament yesterday. Since learning about the terrible human tragedy in India, we have reached out to the Indian community in South Australia. On behalf of the South Australian government, we express our sympathy to everyone in India and community members in South Australia to let them know that we are thinking of them and their families and that we stand in solidarity with the Indian community and will continue to support the Indian community during this difficult, sad and challenging time.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (19:46): I rise to speak on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2020. I understand that this bill is perhaps the 17th attempt that various members have brought to the South Australian parliament to allow voluntary assisted dying to occur for people facing certain circumstances. I thank the Hon. Kyam Maher for introducing this bill.
As honourable members know, this bill is a conscience vote for Liberal Party members and therefore the views expressed in the Legislative Council tonight are my own views. These views are formed from personal experience I have with my family and experiences that many have shared with me over the years both privately and publicly.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:43): Today, I rise to speak about International Women's Day. This year, the campaign theme for International Women's Day is Choose to Challenge. A challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge comes change—and many women have done so through rallies and speaking out to the media.
I am pleased to share in parliament today that it was a great honour to represent the Marshall Liberal government at four International Women's Day events this year. Coming out of a COVID pandemic year we ought to be so grateful that we live in one of the safest places in the world that allows us to have gatherings and to celebrate such important events.
Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. I. Pnevmatikos:
That this council—
- Notes the actions and belligerence of Azerbaijan towards the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh in commencing military action on 27 September 2020;
- Notes the serious concerns that have been raised from Armenian-Australians regarding the existential threat to the indigenous Armenian population of the Republic of Artsakh by this military action and in any attempts by Azerbaijan to prevent the peaceful resettlement of the indigenous Armenian population following the agreement to a provisional ceasefire on 9 November 2020;
- Notes the serious concerns raised by Armenian-Australians and independent international organisations regarding the risk of Azerbaijan destroying sites of global cultural and historical significance;
- Condemns the actions of President Erdogan of Turkey and President Aliyev of Azerbaijan in their pursuit of a policy of Pan-Turkish nationalism, which has previously led to genocide and which now threatens the Armenian population of Artsakh with ethnic cleansing;
- Calls on the federal government to condemn these attacks and advocate for the safety and security of Armenia and Artsakh in the context of international support for a stable and enduring peace settlement;
- Recognises the right to self-determination of all peoples including those of the Republic of Artsakh and calls on the federal government to also recognise the Republic of Artsakh as the only permanent solution to the conflict to avoid further attempts of such military aggression.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:40): Bonsoir tout le monde. It is a great honour today to rise and speak about a significant milestone in South Australia's migration history, the 110th anniversary of the Alliance Française d’Adelaïde.
On Saturday 12 February 2021, as Assistant Minister to the Premier, it was a great privilege to represent the Premier, the Hon. Steven Marshall, at the unveiling of the magnificent mural painting that was commissioned to commemorate this remarkable milestone. I was joined by SAMEAC Chair, Mr Norman Schueler OAM.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:54): Today, I rise to speak about STEM and the new STEM Centre at the Hillcrest Primary School. 'STEM' stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, incorporating physics and chemistry.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Minister for Education and the Department for Education for their outstanding work on the STEM Learning strategy. This important strategy will transform public education to enable students at every level of schooling to develop knowledge, skills and understanding in STEM subjects and to apply that learning to shape the world.
It was a great honour to represent the Minister for Education, the Hon. John Gardner, to officially open the new STEM Centre on Wednesday 28 October 2020. Our heartfelt congratulations go to the Hillcrest Primary School on receiving $1 million of state government grants to create the new state-of-the-art, purpose-built STEM learning space. The new STEM labs have cutting-edge technology within an engaging and supportive environment that stimulates the imagination and creative learning of students of all year levels.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:43): Today, I rise to speak about Dementia Action Week, which is held this week, from Monday 21 September until Sunday 27 September. It is an important initiative of Dementia Australia. Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. It affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with a person's normal social and working life.
Close to half a million Australians currently live with dementia and sadly that number is expected to double in the next 25 years. Many Australians will start experiencing the impact of dementia amongst their own family and friends in the coming years.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:51): Today I rise with a heavy heart to convey my deepest condolences to the famil y of Dr Yen-Yung Yap. Dr Yap has sadly passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 43 years old, a great loss to his family and friends, the medical profession and the community he represented and cared for. Dr Yap was a high achiever and his mission has been to provide holistic health care for women and a comprehensive reproductive care plan for couples from fertility to family planning. He was a highly qualified obstetrician and gynaecologist.
Dr Yap has been known as a happy-go-lucky family man who was a kind and loving husband to Mei-Khing Loo and a wonderful father to his three beautiful young children, Joyce, Michelle and Edwin. I have known Dr Yap and his wife Mei-Khing through the Australian Chinese Medical Association and the Malaysia Club of South Australia.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:21): It is 1 July 2020 today, and I believe South Australia is ready to press the reset button for the second half of the year. The first half of 2020 is officially over. We have survived many challenging days in the COVID pandemic and we have much to be thankful for. I take this opportunity to once again express my heartfelt thanks to SA Health, SAPOL, front-line heroes and all South Australians who have played a critical role in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of everyone. We are stronger together as a community.
The high level of cooperation and responsible action, such as staying home whenever possible, good practice of social distancing and making sacrifices over the last few months, have kept SA safe. We have become one of the safest and most enviable places in the world. This has better positioned our state to enjoy the freedom and liberty in opening up our economy, getting back to normality faster and getting SA moving again.
The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:43): In a world where violence forces thousands of people to flee for their lives, Australia has a long history as a resettlement country for refugees. Today, it is my privilege to acknowledge Refugee Week which is from 14 to 20 June 2020. Refugee Week is Australia's annual program to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. Refugee Week provides the platform where positive images of refugees can be promoted in order to create a culture of welcome throughout the country.