Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (13:38): I thank the Ipswich Malayali Association for once again inviting me to celebrate Onam with them last Saturday at Ripley Valley State Secondary College in my electorate of Blair. I was joined by the association's new president, a female for the first time, Nisha Philip, and the secretary, Jos Joy. Congratulations to both of them and their new committee. Also in attendance were other politicians and Krishnan Menon, the secretary of the Federation of the Indian Communities of Queensland. In July I was pleased to speak in Brisbane at the launch of the Federation of the Malayalee Associations of Queensland, FOMAQ, which was formed after many decades of turbulence and trouble.
Onam is an annual harvest festival in southern India. It continues a 2000-year tradition of music, dance, art, flowers and fun. Out of the legendary and spiritual story of submission and service comes an annual festival of happiness, excitement and joy. It is the sheer vibrance and colour of these events along with boundless enthusiasm that inspire a life of service. The Malayalee community contribute to the Ipswich society in many and deep ways across the fields of education, sports, business and health. I know I'm in very safe hands whenever I go to their association events because there are so many doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who serve at Ipswich Hospital and across the community. Congratulations, happy Onam, have a great festival.