Western Australian Chinese New Year ball

Prime Minister

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet.

And I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

I want to also acknowledged the Premier of Western Australia, Roger Cook, the former Premier as well, my mate, Mark McGowan.

And I could run through the members of the Caucus of my Government who are here, but basically it might be easier to just name those who aren’t here.

So all of my Ministerial colleagues from Canberra, who travelled right around Australia to be with you here this evening, I welcome and acknowledge all of you as well.

It is indeed an enormous pleasure to be here in Perth at this magnificent event, and to wish you all a Happy New Year.

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè.

Gong Hei Fat Choi.

I join you in welcoming the Year of the Dragon.

The beginning of Lunar New Year is a time full of happiness.

A chance to give thanks for family and community.

And to look forward with optimism for the year ahead.

Lunar New Year celebrations have become a fixture of our national calendar.

Embraced not just by people with connections to China, Singapore or Malaysia, but by Australians from all walks of life and every background.

The Chinese community and Chinese culture are such an important part of our national story and our national identity.

From those who journeyed here at the beginning of the 19th century, to the 1.4 million people of Chinese ancestry who proudly call Australia home.

People who came here seeking a better life for themselves and their families and in doing so has made Australia a better nation for us all.

People like my friend, the great Member for Tangney, Sam Lim, who is here with us tonight.

There are many exceptional people in our Parliament, but it’s fair to say that there is nobody quite like Sam.

A Malaysian-Chinese who came to Australia for what Australia has to offer.

A former police officer, but also I think the only person I’ve ever met who is not just a former police officer, but a former dolphin trainer as well.

He speaks ten languages.

Sam came here in 2005 in search of new opportunities and he has become a leader in his community, being awarded WA Police Officer of the Year in 2020 for his service to multicultural communities during COVID.

And he has become a powerful advocate in Canberra.

His story of hard work and aspiration reflects the journey of many of you here tonight and the incredible contributions that you make to Australian life.

And having so many people from charities involved with the Chinese Australian community.

And I would like to acknowledge as well, the Ambassador from the People’s Republic of China and the Consul Generals who join us here tonight as well.

It is indeed a great celebration, not just of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dragon, but a great celebration of Australian multiculturalism here in Perth.

Last year, I had the great honour of being the first Australian Prime Minister to visit China since 2016.

I look forward to welcoming Premier Li here, this year, on the return visit.

That visit marked 50 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries and it signified another important step in the patient, calibrated and deliberate approach that my Government has taken to stabilising the relationship between Australia and China.

In Shanghai and Beijing, you can see the contribution Western Australian resources have made to China’s extraordinary economic transformation.

A transformation, that in recent decades, has seen more people lifted out of poverty than has occurred in any country in human history over that period of time, and enormous achievement.

And here in WA, you can see how much the Chinese Australian community has done to drive the growth and success of this remarkable state.

So many of you in this room have been central to that.

With your creativity and your determination, your hard work and your commitment.

And your contribution to our society and community.

On the eve of Australia Day last year, I had the privilege of welcoming Theresa Kwok to Canberra.

Theresa is of course the CEO of Chung Wah Community and Aged Care, and was the Senior Australian of the Year for Western Australia in 2023.

That award recognised her nearly 35 years of work with Chung Wah, welcoming and settling older migrants.

Making people feel at home and helping them build a sense of connection with their new country.

Respect. Kindness. Looking after each other.

Those are the enduring values of this community.

And they are great Australian qualities.

They underpin the harmony and unity that, at our best, makes Australia an example for the world.

So, thank you for everything you do to contribute to this.

To make this city, this proud state of Western Australia and our great country the thriving and vibrant place that it is.

I wish you and your families a very happy, peaceful and prosperous new year.

Thank you everyone.

Xiè xie da jia.

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