Peter Khalil: As the year draws to a close I think all of our minds wander to the holiday season to come, that joyful time of the year where we can celebrate and spend time with our loved ones, our family and our friends. But, in truth, the holiday and celebration season in my electorate of Wills has been ongoing for the past month or so, with many different cultures and religions celebrating their festivals.
Early in November the Anatolian Alevi community celebrated the Abdal Musa celebration, where the traditions of unity and togetherness are preserved. The Abdal Musa feast has been celebrated by the Anatolian Alevis since the 14th century. Also early last month, the Hindu community celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, to signify the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair—all I think very good messages for this place. And in late November the Muslim community in my electorate came together to celebrate Mawlid, a very special time for Muslims around the world, celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
Earlier this week the Jewish community began their celebrations of Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, a celebration of hope and freedom. Of course, as we go into December, we can say that Christmas party season has begun in earnest. For Christians, of course, it is a significant time, marking the birth of Jesus. It’s a tribute to our thriving multicultural society that these holidays and celebrations are opportunities for all of us to develop friendships and a deeper understanding of those with different faiths and cultural backgrounds.
But there are other celebrations coming as well. The year 12 exams have been finished, and I’m sure every student is very happy to mark the end of their high school career. Of course all other school students are excited with the end of term 4 just around the corner and the summer holidays starting or already started. This is all in the build-up to the end of this year and the start of the new year. Obviously it is an arbitrary date decided before any of us were here to have input to it, but it’s an undeniable fact that there’s a sense of rejuvenation in the air when you get into the new year. It gives us time to reflect and come to terms with what has happened in the past year—and a lot has happened—and allows us to reflect and look ahead with hope at the year ahead.
That’s the common thread of all those holiday seasons and festivals: hope. Although things don’t always go to plan or go the way we want them to, our humanity and the intrinsic nature of what we are means that we will always strive to work together to make things better for those around us, our friends, our family and the broader community. Here, as members of parliament, we also seek to do that for millions of Australians around the country. I want to congratulate the graduating class of 2018. Enjoy the holiday. To all the people of Wills, whether you celebrate Diwali, Mawlid, Hanukkah, Christmas or even Festivus, have a wonderful time with family and friends and a happy new year.