Tonight in Parliament House there will be a special event to celebrate 40 years of Vietnamese settlement in Australia. The story of the Australian Vietnamese community is incredible and inspirational. It is a story of danger and desperation, of pirates, hunger, camps and death. It is also a story of hope, a story of a new home and a new struggle, of family, of hard work and of success.
I know this story well. I heard it from my grandfather who fought in Vietnam. I heard it from the children in my classroom when I was at school in Cabramatta. And I have heard it from my mother- and father-in-law. They are two of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and settled in Australia.
The Vietnamese community has given back so much to Australia in return. The little boys and girls I went to school with, who told me about pirates and boats, are now doctors and nurses, police officers, pharmacists and engineers. This incredible success has happened because of three things: a strong community, led by the VCA; a strong faith, found in our churches and temples; and strong families. It is a privilege to represent so many Vietnamese Australians in this parliament. The Australian Vietnamese community has made Australia a better place to live, and tonight we gather to celebrate this remarkable story.