Thursday, 25 March 2021
Bangladesh, Easter, COVID-19: Education
A heartfelt thank you to my colleague opposite for those words.
Tomorrow will be such a wonderful celebration for the vibrant Bangladeshi communities in the electorate of Lalor and right across the nation. Tomorrow is the golden jubilee of Bangladeshi independence and the celebration of the birth of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. There will be many celebrations to mark this special occasion. There will be parades, gatherings, flag-raising ceremonies, concerts—even a little bit of cricket in my electorate—not just here in Parliament House in Canberra but across the nation as our local Bangladeshi communities celebrate this important day.
As the vice-chair of the Australian Bangladeshi parliamentary group, I'm proud of not only what this day celebrates but also our two nations' strong and long history. Australia was the first developed nation in the world to recognise Bangladesh, so it's no surprise our two nations share such a long and proud history of cooperation. Our new parliamentary friendship group will build on this shared history into the future, creating person-to-person relationships that will support both our countries in building democracy to support our peoples.
This is what I discussed recently with His Excellency Mohammad Sufiur Rahman, the Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Australia, when we met in Canberra to discuss the 50th anniversary of independence and our two countries. I say to His Excellency: I'm sorry I'm unable to mark this auspicious occasion with you, but no doubt many more events will be held in the future to celebrate our two nations and the new parliamentary friendship group.
Given this may be my last chance to rise in the House prior to the May sitting week, I want to pass on my best wishes to all in Lalor for the celebration of Easter. Easter means a lot of things for a lot of people. For many it is a time that carries deep meaning. It is a time for worship, for reflection, and it is a special opportunity for families to come together. Following the disruption of last year, I hope that, for those who celebrate this day religiously, a more normal marking of these three days is possible. Easter can also just be a day filled with chocolate, family and loved ones. But for many in our community it will be another day of work, and to you I say: thank you for making our time with family more enjoyable, safer and easier. You deserve your penalty rates, and Labor will fight tooth and nail to protect them. Whether Easter is a day of church or chocolate, fish on Good Friday or a weekend at the beach, stay safe on the roads, enjoy your time with loved ones and have a very happy Easter.
To finish, I met with students at my SRC forum last Friday, and I want to share with the House their feedback about their teachers. They are absolutely grateful and appreciative of all of the effort their teachers put in during the pandemic. More importantly they're appreciative of the person-to-person education that's happening in their classrooms now.