Speech on Mid-Autumn Festival, Parliament House

Mr PERRETT (MoretonOpposition Whip) (10:42): As a member representing a strong multicultural community, I wish everyone here Zhongqiujie kuaile, which is Mandarin for 'happy Mid-Autumn Festival'.

I know we are actually kicking off spring here, but this festival is the second largest and one of the most ancient festivals in the Chinese calendar. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which falls on 15 September this year. It is celebrated not only in mainland China but also in Vietnam. It is in fact a public holiday in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is a festival held to celebrate the harvest and to appreciate the role the moon has in our life and culture. It is normally celebrated by spending time with family, showing gratitude for what we have and eating delicious mooncakes.

I am mindful of the growing number of Australians with Chinese heritage, particularly in my electorate of Moreton but also in other electorates around the country. To be proud of your roots is very important. Just because you are Australian does not mean that you have to forget your family's culture or where your family came from, despite what some elected representatives have been asserting lately. This festival is an inclusive celebration and was celebrated across my electorate of Moreton. The Queensland Chinese cooperation and friendship association selected the Mid-Autumn Festival as their inaugural event.

I was privileged to attend two events on the weekend: the World Arts and Multi-Culture Inc. celebration and the 10th anniversary of Queensland Chinese United Council's Mid-Autumn Festival. Both were wonderful gatherings with some great company and great entertainment. At these festivals I saw my diverse community, and Brisbane and beyond, where they welcomed everyone and they celebrated the true meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival: friendship, reflection, family and that strong commitment to giving back to the community.

The Mid-Autumn Festival also has some historical significance. During the reign of the Mongolians in China, during the Yuan dynasty, the ethnic Chinese wanted to overthrow the then government. However, they had no way of informing the soldiers and the people of the time or the location of the uprising. The generals decided to conceal the information on paper placed inside the mooncakes. The rebellion was successful and led to China being self-governing.

Nowadays, how the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated can vary. For example, in Taiwan, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated by having a barbecue outside with family and friends underneath the bright full moon. That translates pretty well in Queensland nowadays in the middle of spring.

I would like to thank all the organisers of the events that I attended on the weekend and that are coming up to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. I am privileged to share these cultural festivals with you. We are definitely enriched from the experience. Through your celebrations we gain a far greater understanding of Chinese culture and how it is evolving around the world.

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