I would of course like to begin by welcoming His Excellency, Ambassador Chen Yuming and Madam Chen.
I have a welcome message from the Prime Minister that I would like to read.
On behalf of the Government and people of Australia, I take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to His Excellency Mr Chen Yuming, the new Ambassador from the People’s Republic of China to Australia, and Madame Chen.
I trust that their time in Australia will be enjoyable and productive, further enhancing the broad and rapidly expanding relationship that exists between our two nations.
At recent international summits, I have had several opportunities to meet senior Chinese leaders, such as President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. These meetings have enabled me to underscore the importance of the Australia-China relationship and further enhance our bonds of cooperation and respect.
In the same spirit of friendship, I look forward to seeing Ambassador Chen in Canberra in the near future.
Tonight’s celebration affirms the wonderful contribution that the Chinese community has made to our nation, and I am delighted that His Excellency and Madame Chen are receiving such a warm and generous welcome in Australia.
Your Excellency you are a representative of a country and a civilisation that has become so much a part of the Australian story.
You have come to a country that people of Chinese decent have helped to build – they have been a part of creating all that you see here.
Our Chinese community is one of the oldest, most industrious and generous communities in Australia.
The first Chinese migrant arrived as early as 1803 - he was a free-settler and a carpenter. By the 1840s Chinese migration became a steady source of population growth and by the 1861, the Chinese born Australians numbered just over 38 000, or 3.4 per cent of our population. It was the second largest immigrant group after those from the British Isles. Indeed in Darwin, in 1888, the Chinese population outnumbered the European / British by six to one – many working on building the railway from Port Darwin to Pine Creek. At the time of our last census 3.85 per cent of our population claimed Chinese ancestry.
These statistics are significant, but more important is the contribution that members of our Chinese community have made - from business to medicine, from education to politics, they have excelled and they have made us proud.
One only has to look around this room to find examples.
For example, our host, William Chiu, a successful businessman, a member of the NSW Government Asia Business Advisory Council, and a philanthropist who initiated the "Eyes on Tibet" project.
Katie Young – Director of the Asia Division at the law firm Hunt & Hunt, an advocate for the Chinese community who plays a national leadership role in advising the Government on multicultural affairs. Her contribution on the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council is most appreciated.
As these examples illustrate, the Chinese community in Australia provides a shining example of migrant successful settlement.
Through their contribution we are fortunate to have acquired a profound appreciation for China and their links have kept our two nations close.
On behalf of Australian Government I welcome you and your family and I wish you every success in what is a very important role to our Government.