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24 February 2024





24 February 2024

As the Lunar New Year festivities draw to a close, it's important to acknowledge this special time for individuals of Chinese heritage to honour family and prosperity.

Every February it brings colour, music and dancing to our community.

It also comes with a chorus of “Gong Xi Fa Cai”, the lunar blessing made between family, friends, strangers and sometimes foes, and gains sacred significance at this time of the year.

Loosely translated in Mandarin it means ‘wishing you prosperity for the coming year” and is an expression of hope for someone’s welfare, security and success, or as comedian Ronny Chieng would say “I hope you get rich!”.

Generally, Australians are not accustomed to public blessings or assertions about our wealth or prosperity, and it can appear inappropriate and materialistic to them.

For me, it’s not that. Instead, the lunar blessing represents something different and something more than our own “Happy New Year”.

Why? Because many of us we are comfortable with acknowledging our pursuit of happiness.

Therefore, to wish someone a ‘Happy New Year” places little demand on you. But to wish someone a prosperous year, in my opinion requires more of you.

To say “I hope you and your family prosper” is not materialistic at all but is very honest and meaningful and consistent with Australian values.

As a Labor person, the one that springs to mind is the concept of a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

I cannot think of a more sacred promise from country to citizen than a commitment that “everyone here gets a fair go”.  

It’s an Australian anthem almost.

Work hard, play fair, and you will prosper.

But for us to prosper, Australia needs to get more comfortable confronting our economic realities while embracing and strengthening our fair-work ethic that makes our nation strong. 

It’s about acknowledging that a pursuit of prosperity is consistent with our values.

The mission is to make the wish come true for all Australians.

When a government in the first instance rejects the values of which we aspire, what hope is there for prosperity?

For a government to introduce measures that stunted rather than moved wages, and shunted rather than motivated the aspirations of Australians, it destroys the prospect of a prosperous future.

For a government to effectively chew up the household budgets of most Australians demonstrates disregard, not hope, for the welfare of its citizens.

I know that cost-of-living is the number one challenge in Australia right now.

And the bottom line is money matters more when you have less of it.

A small amount of money means a lot to a family with little and means little to someone with a lot.  

People in my community know that a bulk billed GP appointment is a life saver when private GPs are out of reach. 

Reducing childcare costs and increasing a working mothers' income is a game changer to a family doing it tough.  

The key source of prosperity for all Australians is returning.

Under Labor, wages have grown the fastest in years.

Labor’s redesigned cost-of-living tax cuts are going to help those hit hardest by the cost-of-living pressures - those on middle and lower incomes.

Helping more people keep more of what they earn will keep our local economies alive.  

81 percent of West Australians will be better off from July 1 because they will have money when it matters and money where it belongs - in their pocket.  

It was members of the former Coalition government who ignored the tools at their disposal to alleviate the cost-of-living pressures while not contributing to inflation. 

Instead, they devised a tax formula that once implemented in full, would only impede the pursuit of prosperity for most Australians.

The community has said loud and clear that they need relief from the pressures on the cost-of-living.

No action is not an option.

So, I am proud that the Albanese Government did the right thing by ensuring every Australian taxpayer will receive a tax cut, and helping more households strive towards a more prosperous future during this difficult time. 

It’s a stronger and more responsible government that responds in a crisis rather than one that remains rigid and eventually cracks. 

It reminds me of another piece of Chinese wisdom “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm”.  

And with that in mind, I wish for everyone to be happy, and I commit to the improvement of their material circumstances. 

Gong Xi Fa Cai.


(Photo Credit: Premier Roger Cook MLA)