TRIBUTE TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS KING GEORGE TUPOU V, KING OF TONGA
Mr BRYAN DOYLE
(Campbelltown) [1.30 p.m.], by leave: I advise the House of the recent death of King George Tupou V of Tonga. His Majesty will be remembered with admiration and appreciation for his guidance to achieve democratic reform in Tonga in 2010. As Chair of the Ministerial Community Consultative Committee for Maori and Pacific Communities I attended a memorial service for King Tupou V last night at the Cube Convention Centre, Campbelltown Catholic Club, in the great opal of the south-west—Campbelltown. Councillors from Campbelltown City Council and the Federal member for Werriwa also attended. The memorial was attended by well over 400 members of the Australian Tongan community and was hosted by my friend and President of the Macarthur Pacific Tongan Community, Salesi Tupou. I addressed the assembled mourners and passed on the condolences of Premier Barry O'Farrell and the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Victor Dominello.
I told the assembly that grief is the price we pay for love and that, from the many people expressing their grief, it was obvious that the King of Tonga was well loved. I said that the King would have been proud of those Tongans who came to Australia and now are proudly called Australian citizens. I spoke of mentioning the Tongan community in my inaugural speech in this place and telling the Parliament about the great work in Campbelltown and Macarthur by Australians of Pacific heritage, including our Tongan friends. The ceremony was conducted by my friend Mr Benny Fonua, the Tongan community's public liaison officer. A musical item followed each speaker at the service. I told the gathering that we are a people of hope and for them to remember where they were when they heard the news that the King of Tonga had died. I asked them to look around at everyone present to draw strength from their grief, love and support.
During the ceremony we heard the cries of newborn babes. I told those assembled that, as we are a people of hope, those cries represented the sound of new life. I said that we believe in an afterlife and may the angels take the King by the hand and present him to God Most High so He may grant the King eternal life and shine perpetual light upon him, and may he rest in peace. Today as a mark of respect all flags in New South Wales and, indeed, across Australia are flying at half mast. Last night's ceremony commenced at 7.00 p.m. and did not conclude until well after 11.00 p.m. at the conclusion of all speeches. There were rousing renditions of the Australian and Tongan national anthems. Australians of Tongan descent and I farewelled King George Tupou V, the King of Tonga, with respect. His funeral will be conducted in Tonga today.
Private members' statements concluded.
[Acting-Speaker (Mr Gareth Ward) left the chair at 1.35 p.m. The House resumed at 2.15 p.m.