DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
I rise to wish everyone celebrating this year a very happy Diwali. The Festival of Lights will be very different this year due to COVID-19. The pandemic has curtailed the ability of many to hold the large outdoor festivals that we've come to enjoy and ceremonies within places of worship. But it will be celebrated nonetheless. By its very nature, this is the time when we reflect on our many blessings and we look forward with hope and optimism to the year ahead.
I am very fortunate in my electorate of Greenway to represent people of many different backgrounds and faiths who will celebrate Diwali, including those of Hindu, Sikh, and Jain faiths. We have seen around the electorate of Greenway construction commencing on a number of places of worship, including the Shakti temple in Old Toongabbie and the Jain temple in Toongabbie, for which marble is already being prepared in India. It is wonderful that the Diwali Christmas lights competition is being held across my electorate. And even people who don't join in celebrating Diwali as a religious occasion do like to participate and leave the lights up until Christmas. So let's remember the deep meaning of Diwali: a fresh start and new beginnings.