Statement on the Coronavirus
My electorate reflects the wonderful multiculturalism of modern Australia and it is home to one of Sydney’s largest Australian Chinese communities. Those with Chinese heritage contribute enormously to our community, and I am proud to represent them in this parliament, as I am all my constituents. Like all of us, the Australian Chinese community is concerned about the spread of coronavirus in China and other parts of the world, perhaps more so because of the deep family connections so many retain. As the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have said so powerfully in this place, it is a time when we must stand by and embrace those in the Australian Chinese community, and we must reject any attempt, particularly through social media, to spread prejudice or misinformation.
I know that fears of coronavirus are having an impact on many businesses in my electorate. My message today is that it is a time to be supporting our communities and our local businesses. We know from all the expert advice that the risk levels in Australia are currently exceptionally low. Our health authorities are doing a superb job, and we should not be deterred from carrying on as we normally would. That’s why I was so pleased that my local councils in Willoughby and Lane Cove continued with their Lunar New Year celebrations and why I was so disappointed that a nearby council—Ryde council, in fact—cancelled theirs. It was the wrong call and the wrong message. I urge residents to do what I will be doing when I return to Sydney: support our local restaurants and small businesses in places like Chatswood and the other vibrant precincts that make ours a wonderful part of Sydney.