House debates

Thursday, 17 February 2022


Cowan Electorate: Community Events

1:01 pm

Photo of Anne AlyAnne Aly (Cowan, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] Cowan is an incredibly diverse electorate which truly reflects modern Australia. The line in our anthem, 'For those who've come across the seas we've boundless plains to share,' is not just about the multitude of citizenship ceremonies that I attend where I get to greet those who have called Australia home; it's also about the character of the Cowan electorate. I acknowledge the diversity in Cowan and I want to acknowledge the communities of Cowan and thank them not just for sharing their culture through their food and music with me but also for their loyalty to this country and for their achievements. Many of them have achieved really amazing things, despite challenges and despite adversity.

Over the last month I was really blessed to attend a lot of cultural celebrations by cultural groups in Cowan. I want to go through some of them. I want to give a shout-out to Joe Tuazama and Dr Casty Hughes from the Organisation of African Communities. Just last month I attended the Jambo Africa Festival at the Wanneroo Showgrounds. Wow, what a spectacular festival that was. It showcased not just the talent of various African communities in Cowan but also their achievements and the ways in which they've really integrated into the political, social and economic life of Australia.

Just before that there was the very first Kenyan festival, which was also held at the Wanneroo Showgrounds. My brothers and sisters in the Kenyan community welcomed my husband, David, and I with open arms. It was such a pleasure to be able to attend that festival too.

I also attended the Oromo Cultural Night. The Oromo community is driven and powered by its youth, particularly the president, Abdisa. Ninety per cent of Perth's Oromo diaspora live in Cowan. This community is really fighting to continue its culture through language. The Oromo language hasn't been a written language for very long, but it's really part of their identity. I commend particularly the Oromo youth for really embracing their identity and their culture through language.

Of course, I can't forget the Vietnamese seniors. Every time I go and meet with the Vietnamese seniors, it ends in karaoke and dancing. Now don't judge me here, Mr Deputy Speaker, but I've got to tell you: if you've got a microphone and some music, I'm there! And the Vietnamese seniors always step it up. So a huge thankyou to them.

I also attended the Burmese community—the Burmese Association of Western Australia. They've been going since 1965 in Cowan. Again, I got to sing—of course!—and do a bit of dancing as well. But the Burmese community is such a wonderful asset to our community and a longstanding community in Cowan. They've achieved so much and contributed so much to Australia, and I thank them for everything that they've done.

Earlier this month we had the Perth Chinese New Year Festival, which was organised by the Chung Wah Association of WA—a really, really active association for many, many years. I remember, when I was a policy officer at the Office of Multicultural Interests, way back when, having a lot to do with the Chung Wah Association and just how active they were in promoting multiculturalism in WA.

Just last week I got to attend the Chin community national day—a hugely important day for the Chin community. It's a bittersweet day, considering what's going on at the moment with their community in Myanmar, but, still, this community was able to celebrate and, again, to showcase just how important identity is for their young people and for themselves, and how that makes us stronger.

In Australia, we often talk about Australia being a successful multicultural nation. It's really important to recognise that our diversity is our strength, and in Cowan that diversity truly is a source of strength for its residents, but also for those of us who have that opportunity— (Time expired)