By leave: I am delighted to speak to this matter of public importance, which recognises a festival that is significant to the subcontinent Australian community across New South Wales. So important is this festival in Australia that the sails of the Sydney Opera House were last night aglow with Diwali colours. In this House today we therefore acknowledge the festival and those across the world who celebrate Diwali. Diwali is about the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. The festival is symbolised by light, which is a powerful symbol of hope. It is a festival that I believe we can learn a lot from. On October 20 people from across the globe gather with their friends and family to celebrate Diwali with the lighting of lamps and the consumption of delicious food. There is music and dancing and it is a wonderful celebration.
Given the significance of the festival in Sydney, I have attended many events, the first of which was the Diwali Fair in Harris Park organised by the Council of Indian Australians. I acknowledge the work of Council of Indian Australians' President Mr Mohit Kumar and his hardworking committee. My Diwali would not be complete without attending festivities organised by the Hindu Council of Australia. In the heart of the Sydney central business district, just a short walk from this Parliament, the council showcased the Festival of Lights to workers and tourists. In Parramatta—Sydney's second central business district—tens of thousands of people attended the largest Diwali celebration in Australia. I recognise the leadership of Professor Nihal Agar and the Hindu Council of Australia committee.
The South Sydney Indian Association celebrated the festival in style with its annual Diwali Dhoom. This amazing group of women brought together family and friends to recognise Diwali, and I congratulate Jagrati Lalchandani, Shweta Doke, Dimpy Kholi and Swati Tanna. In my electorate, the Shirdi Sai temple in Strathfield South celebrates the festival with prayers both morning and night. There will be an aarti tomorrow night and the temple will be illuminated by candles. As I have done previously in this House, I acknowledge Jack Tolani. Tomorrow night the Sikh community will celebrate Diwali at the Parklea Sikh temple, which is also known as a Gurudwara. This is the largest Gurudwara in the Southern Hemisphere, and Sikhs across New South Wales will pay homage and attend festivities organised by the Australian Sikh Association. I thank that committee for its tireless work.
I also acknowledge BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, which will host Diwali and Annakut celebrations this Friday in Rosehill. In Strathfield, my community will celebrate with a picnic in the park and I thank my friend and community leader Aruna Chandrala for her work in bringing people together. That is the heart of Diwali: It is a festival that brings people together. Australia's oldest Parliament thanks our subcontinent Australian community for keeping the lights of Diwali shining bright in Australia.