Parliament: Other Speeches

Hong Kong-Australia Business Association-SA Chapter

That this council—

  1. Congratulates the Hong Kong-Australia Business Association-SA Chapter (HKABA-SA) on achieving 15 successful years of its business awards program;
  2. Acknowledges the wonderful work of current and past committee members in the development of strong economic and cultural ties with Hong Kong/China;
  3. Recognises the economic and social contributions made by HKABA-SA to South Australian business and the multicultural community; and
  4. Highlights the entrepreneurship and success stories of past award recipients and shines the spotlight on South Australian companies and organisations that are successfully trading in Hong Kong and China.

(Continued from 1 March 2017.)

The Hon. T.T. NGO: Today I rise to speak very briefly to support this motion which acknowledges the great work of the Hong Kong-Australia Business Association-SA Chapter (HKABA-SA). I also take this opportunity to place on the record my condolences to the family and friends of Mr Michael Higgs, whom I worked closely with over the years to promote HKABA. Mike, more than anyone else I have known, was a passionate advocate for forming closer ties between South Australia, Hong Kong and China.

Mike wanted me to organise government ministers to attend some of HKABA’s events, and I believe the Hon. Jing Lee was doing the same in organising the shadow ministers to be at these events. I have always made an effort to attend as many of the networking events that he and the association arranged. I did so because of the passion that Mike showed for the importance of fostering lasting and collaborative ties between South Australia and Hong Kong and Chinese business people.

The association has come a long way since it was first established back in 1987 in order to promote trade, innovation and cultural understanding. While everyone recognises the important relationships Australia must sustain with its Asian partners today, there was not this type of focus on this area 30 years ago. I am told Hong Kong is the world’s freest economy, most service-oriented economy, third most competitive economy, fourth largest source of foreign investment and the busiest airport in terms of international cargo. Essentially, Hong Kong is the banking and financial centre for the region and provides a gateway to mainland China.

I was first introduced to the association by the then president, Patrick Ho, in 2012, when I was an adviser to the then treasurer, Jack Snelling MP. Patrick organised a program for me and the treasurer when we were in Hong Kong promoting South Australia’s bonds to potential investors. It was eye-opening for me to see how vibrant Hong Kong is and how entrepreneurial the Hong Kong people are. It was great to meet several business investors, who were members of the Hong Kong ABA network, who were investing in South Australia. Hong Kong is exactly as I described earlier.

The HKABA SA chapter is a non-profit South Australian business association that was established to:

Promote contact and communication between business people of Hong Kong, China and South Australia;

Provide a forum for increasing knowledge and understanding of Hong Kong, China and South Australia;

Assist in the development and promotion of business and investment between Hong Kong, China and South Australia;

Disseminate information on trade and investment opportunities;

Provide a forum for the provision of recognition and incentive to members who strive for excellence in all aspects of international trade; and

Provide support to the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide.

The association has received many accolades over the years, including being three-time winners of the prestigious International Chamber of the Year award presented by the Council for International Trade and Commerce of South Australia (CITCSA). They have also been elevated to CITCSA’s International Chamber Hall of Fame. I wish the new president of HKABA, Mr Wayne Chao, and its committee members, all the best in leading the association in its new chapter. I commend this motion to the council.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: The Dignity Party supports this motion of course, as we support every multicultural group in South Australia, as they help make up the great diversity that makes our community what it is. In fact, our lead Legislative Council candidate last election was a woman of South Sudanese background and also refugee background. We are very pleased to continue that work of promoting and supporting diversity in our society.

However, we are surprised that the mover of this motion, the Hon. Jing Lee, finds herself a member of the very same political party that is moving to change the words ‘offend, insult, humiliate’ in18C of the federal Racial Discrimination Act to ‘harass, intimidate’—which could lead to a rise in race hate and indeed a devaluing of the diversity that I think makes this great community what it is—without understanding the very real impact that this could have, and indeed already appears to be having on many people in our community. We think that is a sad indictment. We very much appreciate the intent with which this motion has been moved, but I think it is important to remember the broader context as well. With those words, we support the motion.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: I would like to lend my support for the motion of the Hon. Jing Lee and thank her for bringing this motion to the council. In particular, I thank the Hon. Jing Lee for acknowledging the work of my father in the formative years of the association in South Australia and congratulate her on her own contribution to the development of the association and its work in South Australia.

I actually recall the first dinner for the business awards. I also remember with great clarity the excellent speech given by Mr Woo, as I was there at the invitation of my father. I also remember Mr Woo was very good on the dance floor with his wife, so it was a very happy occasion. I would like to wish the association every success going forward and thank all those who have lent their time and energy to making it such a great success.

The Hon. J.S. LEE: I would like to thank the Hon. Tung Ngo, the Hon. Kelly Vincent and the Hon. Andrew McLachlan for their contributions and support of this motion for the Hong Kong Australia Business Association, SA Chapter. Once again, I believe that South Australia is a very multicultural state and I think the contribution of the Hong Kong ABA has been tremendous in promoting not just the cultural exchange but also international trade in the export arena. With those remarks, I commend the motion to the chamber.

Motion carried.