Page 5484 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 8 December 2009

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their journey from the town of Nazareth to Bethlehem and prepare for the birth of their child, is celebrated by thousands of Christian communities around the world around Christmas time. It was a pleasure to join the children from Trinity Christian school in their celebration and their reminder to our Tuggeranong community about the real meaning of Christmas and the nativity story—the celebration of the birth of Christ 2,000 years ago, that Christmas is about giving and sharing, thinking of people less fortunate than ourselves, thinking of people who have no room at the inn. There are many modern examples of this today.

In last year’s celebration, I was very much taken by the look on the faces of the people busily shopping in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome, the look of joy on the faces of the parents and children as they watched the Advent procession go past the shops within the Hyperdome, as Joseph called the various shops to find room for his family and there were many rejections, with familiar statements from the shop keepers playing their part in telling Joseph that there was no room at the inn for his family.

It is rather ironic and sad that this year there was no room in the inn for this annual celebration—no room in the Hyperdome for the children to share the joy and message of Christmas with the shoppers in the Hyperdome, as in past years, through this re-enactment of the nativity story. It is also a real and perhaps timely reminder of the importance of maintaining and growing this wonderful celebration of the nativity story, to ensure that the Ninja Turtles and other forms of commercialisation do not push the true meaning of Christmas from our children and our community.

I received several representations from the community and from Fusion Australia about the cancellation of an event that has been a trademark of Fusion Australia and a much-anticipated community Christmas event of the past seven years, the Tuggeranong Advent pageant. Along with many other members of our community, I hope that sanity will prevail next year and allow this event to once again resume as a celebration in its normal venue in Tuggeranong.

As shadow minister for multicultural affairs, I have been invited to attend and open a number of events during the 14th Australian Hungarian Cultural Convention, which is being held in Canberra from 27 December this year to 3 January 2010. Canberra has the honour of hosting the Australian Hungarian Cultural Convention this year, a convention that has a long history involving our multicultural community. The convention commenced in 1969. The inaugural event took place in Melbourne. Every three years, the convention provides an opportunity to celebrate colourful Hungarian traditions. To date, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney have hosted the event. This will be the first occasion when it will be held in Canberra.

The Australian Hungarian Cultural Convention is one of the oldest Australian-Hungarian traditions and has been a primary agenda item for the Australian-Hungarian community over the last 40 years. I would like to pay tribute to the energy and enthusiasm of the Canberra organising committee, and in particular to Attila Ovari, the president of the federal council of Hungarian organisations in Australia and New Zealand, and Gabriella Ovari, in Canberra the chief organiser of the 14th Australian Hungarian Cultural Convention.

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