House debates

Monday, 26 November 2018

Constituency Statements

McMahon Electorate: Diwali

10:43 am

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

Millions of people around the world recently celebrated Diwali. In our country many hundreds of thousands of people celebrated it as well, and in my electorate we celebrated our fifth local McMahon Diwali celebration. Many honourable members will have attended Diwali celebrations. I have now for five years hosted my own Diwali celebration, and I want to thank all those many McMahon locals who came to celebrate with me. Diwali, as honourable members know, is the Hindu festival of lights, about the triumph of light over dark, of good over evil, of knowledge over ignorance. They're all very fine things to celebrate, I would have thought.

We began our celebration in Greystanes with a prayer from Pandit Jatin Bhatt, a representative of the Sri Mandir temple in Auburn. He invited me to participate in that, which was a great honour. Of course, the Sri Mandir temple was the first Hindu temple formed in Australia. We then had members of the Rasika Dance Academy, who wowed the crowd with a wonderful performance, and we also had a performance from the Nartan Institute of Performing Arts, an Indian dance school specialising in the Bollywood style and folk dances from India, which, again, was very impressive. We were also treated to a performance of Carnatic music, which is a mainstay of Indian classical music. Of course, the night wouldn't have been complete without the serving of delicious Indian food. I thank the providers of that food.

It was great to have so many local families come along to Greystanes. I want to thank the mighty Greystanes Goannas AFL club for making their clubrooms available to me and to the community to hold the celebration. It's a wonderful facility and they always make it available to me. I want to thank my friend Councillor Suman Saha for helping to arrange the evening. He also arranged a selfie corner with a particular frame, the McMahon Diwali celebration photo frame, to have selfies in, which was a big hit. I want to thank my friend Arunesh Seth for helping to coordinate the program and arrange it with my office, and I want to congratulate and thank the two MCs of the evening, Ms Arunita Seth and Ms Grace Bowen, two teenage girls who made their MCing debut and did a fantastic job of MCing the evening.

I look forward to next year's event. It gets bigger and bigger every year. I again thank all the McMahon locals who came along to celebrate Diwali with me. It's fair to say it has become a highlight of our calendar. Diwali has become an important celebration. We hold Diwali every year. We hold Holi every year. The McMahon Holi festival is completely different. It is a very colourful event, which we hold during the day, where we all get ourselves very colourful. Diwali is a very enjoyable yet also solemn night. It has long been—for five years now—an important part of my calendar and will always continue to be so.