Tuesday 05 May, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (16:21): They say that the foundation of every state is based on the education of its youth, and let me say that I am extremely proud of the youth I saw last night. I had great pleasure in attending the 20th Annual Graduation Night hosted by the Young Druze Professionals Association. This is an event where the Druze community celebrates the graduation of its youth from secondary school and also from tertiary education.


I wish to acknowledge those who graduated last night. From the tertiary system there was Ms Aida Ahmadie, Mr Waleed Al-Moughraby, Ms Layal Andary, Miss Hala El-Jourdi, Mr Karim Ghaoui, Mr Majdi Hassan, Miss Tamara Jamal-Awar, Mr Kady Jamal, Miss Leanne Mashtoub, Miss Sara Najjar, Ms Leila Obeid, and Miss Amanda Salha. From the secondary system there was Mr Hisham Abi-Ali, Mr Rabieh Abu-Assi, Miss Dina Aburas, Mr Ramzy Al-Moughraby, Miss Haneen Hassan, Miss Nadia Jamal, Miss Madeline Jamal, Mr Wael Jamal, Mr Yazan Jarmakani, Miss Hiba Najjar, Miss Zena Najjar, Mr Wassim Saad, Mr Ayman Zahr, Mr Rami Zahr and Mr Ameen Zeidan.

I was joined by His Excellency the Governor, the Minister for Education and Child Development, and the deputy leader as well as the member for Unley for what was an excellent evening with the Druze community last night, and I congratulate all the graduates from high school and from university.

The Druze is one of our smaller religious or ethnic groups in South Australia, and it was with sadness I noted that a couple of years back the Druze community hall, which was in my electorate at the time, was destroyed by an act of arson. The hall was in Glynde, which is in my electorate. The welfare of this group is something I am concerned with; it is an ongoing concern for me, and I will certainly be doing all I can to assist the Druze community in the future and I wish them well in their efforts to relocate. My assistance is always here if I can help in any way in that relocation. I understand they do have a prospective site; it is not exactly what they want at the moment, but I have no doubt that they will continue to persevere and obtain the suitable premises they are after.

At the same time I am also sad that their premises is no longer in Hartley, but I will certainly consider helping as much as I can to always support the Druze community no matter where they are based. At the time the hall burnt down I was on the Norwood Payneham St Peter's council as a councillor, and I am pleased to say that the council lent a helping hand to make sure they had temporary premises in the meantime.

I particularly want to congratulate not only those who graduated but also their families, who have endured much sacrifice to ensure that their children, and also their siblings, cousins and relatives, have had the opportunity to have the blessing of a good education. It was a wonderful evening. I would like to particularly thank Mr Fouad Abou Hamdan, who is the Chairperson of the Australian Unitarian Druze Community, also Ms Sarah Najjar, who is Chairperson of the Young Druze Professionals of South Australia, and other members of the community who have helped.

Twenty years is a long time. It is a wonderful achievement for this group to have conducted this event for 20 years, and I look forward to coming back for the 21st graduation next year as the member for Hartley. I have always found the Druze community to be a very hospitable group of people. They have always been very warm and welcoming.

In my own community, it has been brought to my attention that they are a wonderful group of people. Many pioneers in the community came to South Australia quite early. I think the minister referenced one of the first Druze who came to Port Adelaide in the 1800s and did much for South Australia. I congratulate all of the graduates. I wish them well in their endeavours and look forward to watching them prosper into the future.