Filipino community – Constituency Statement

I have previously remarked on the diversity of the great electorate of Chifley, which is made up of so many people who have arrived from different lands and who now work so hard to benefit this one. I hope to have an opportunity to recognise and congratulate many of those various people who are working so diligently to make our community a better place in which to live. Today, I would like to make special mention of my fellow Australians who have come here from the shores of the Philippines and of their children born here but respectful of their heritage.

Many Filipino Australians have made their homes in Chifley—in fact, nearly eight per cent of the electorate is comprised of residents who were born in the Philippines. There are many attributes of Filipino Australians that I hold in high regard, particularly their industry, hard work and commitment to community. They have made an active contribution to civics, citizenship and engagement.

Today, I would like to congratulate them on their passion and commitment to making a difference in all aspects of community life, which has enriched the Chifley community. They have dedicated their energies to a range of community, business, social and sporting organisations, some of which I have had a real pleasure working with, including the Association of Golden Australian Filipinos and Dorothy Del Villar; Philippine-Australian Community Services Inc. and Julie Nunez; and Sydney Australian-Filipino Seniors Inc. and Julio Sanchez—they have been going strong for 23 years and, in October, I attended a function with the members for Greenway and Lindsay in Blacktown. I also want to mention the Filipino Australian Movement for Empowerment, whose recent formation of its Woodcroft sub-branch I attended in October, along with the Australian-Philippines Services League.

They are a part of a range of vibrant community organisations, some of which also help arrange cultural celebrations, bringing together Filipino and Australian community members. Celebrations include the upcoming inaugural Philippine Lantern and Cultural Festival in Western Sydney, the annual Sydney Fiesta Kultura, and the Philippine Independence Day celebrations, which I have had the pleasure of attending. And this weekend I am looking forward to dropping in to the Philippine lantern festival and the Philippine Healthcare Association dinner.

There are many who provide spiritual guidance and support to Filipinos in Chifley, and I would like to make reference to two individuals in particular, Father Raning and Father Severino. A number of people have also been very busy setting up successful enterprises and businesses in our community, who need to be congratulated, including Jaspher De Leon and her husband, Gil, who are the proprietors of Jas my Waffles in Rooty Hill.

I have appreciated the opportunity to discuss and consider a range of public affairs issues with senior representatives from Filipino Australian media outlets such as Nonoy Perdon from Bayanihan News and Dino Crescini from the Philippines Sentinel. There are a number of individuals I would like to recognise: Tom Baena, Gil Belarmino, Neil Galang, Joseph Laquian, Roberto Lastica, Mila Martin, Arnold Melchor, Arturo and Tess Sayas, Shirley Watt and Sofia Young. I also want to thank my friends and fellow basketballers at the Rooty Hill Leisure Centre. Those I have not mentioned always know they have my great support and admiration.

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley


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