The date of 12 February marks the beginning of the year of the ox. The second animal of the Chinese zodiac, the ox denotes the hard work, positivity and honesty that will be manifested in all of us. As someone born in the year of the ox, I find this very encouraging and, hopefully, auspicious. The lunar new year is a chance for people to join with family members and celebrate over meals as we welcome new beginnings and honour the wisdom of ancestors.
The lunar new year celebration is a great reminder of the many cultures and traditions that make us who we are as Australians today and, equally importantly, who we might be. Our diversity makes us stronger, and Asian Australians have made a vital contribution to Australia over many generations. This is something that we should always recognise—from the first Chinese migrants who arrived in the gold rush to the international students who have transformed our cities and suburbs and through the particular challenges of last year, from which we have come through stronger, together, whilst not forgetting the concerns we have seen expressed in today's Scanlon research. But I say now, on behalf of the Labor Party, happy lunar new year, everyone, and may the Year of the Ox bring you good health, good luck and prosperity.