(Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
The 2013 Year of the Snake, the Lunar New Year, is a time for celebration and recognition of the contribution made to our State by China, Korea, Vietnam and other countries that observe the lunar calendar.
Those who are born in the Year of the Snake are intuitive, introspective, and graceful. The year 2013 is the Year of the Snake, the water snake, which is an influential and insightful creature. Each year the Chinese New Year celebrations play an important role in fostering closer relations with the major regions of China. This year a delegation from Shenzhen, one of China's major economic centres located in the Guangdong province, joined the Sydney celebrations. The City of Sydney embraced this festival yet again and launched it with a pop-up Asian marketplace in Belmore Park with more than 40 stalls from the local Asian community and from the visiting Shenzhen delegation.
This past Sunday I participated in the city's Twilight Parade, which every year is a major highlight of our Chinese New Year celebrations. The parade included more than 3,500 local and international performers, including 120 artists from Shenzhen. Colourful floats and costumes showcased the many community groups celebrating the Lunar New Year and the parade brought tens of thousands of people to Sydney's central business district to watch and enjoy the event. Sydney's Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside China.
Sydney, which is a popular tourist destination for Chinese people and which has a high number of Chinese students studying here has close links with China. Many people living in the Sydney electorate have close connections with China and the 2011 census data showed that almost 14,000 people have Chinese ancestry. This year I especially enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year with my family. My brother's partner is from Shanghai, my aunt is of Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, and my husband is currently studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing. My family has been enriched by our Chinese members in the same way that the Sydney electorate has been enriched by the Chinese community. "Kung hei fat choy", and may the Year of the Snake bring good fortune to all.