Victor Perton's Speech at 18th Victorian Parliament Iftar Dinner 2024

Good evening, dear friends.

 On behalf of all of us gathered here tonight to break the Ramadan fast, I am filled with profound optimism, gratitude, and joy as we share this special Iftar dinner.

 This evening is about nourishing our bodies after a fast day and enriching our spirits through the power of community, understanding, and shared humanity.

 Ramadan is a time deeply imbued with optimism. It offers the faithful a period dedicated to fasting, prayer, and reflection, fostering a sense of community, joy, and an optimistic outlook. It's a time for spiritual rejuvenation, contemplation, and reassessment of one's faith and daily practices.

 Our gratitude extends first and foremost to our honourable co-hosts, the Hon Ingrid Stitt MLC, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Mr John Pesutto MP, Victorian Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and Mr Ahmet Keskin, Executive Director of the Australian Intercultural Society.

 Your leadership in bringing us together for this auspicious occasion reflects the vibrant tapestry of cultures and faiths that make our community remarkable. Your efforts to foster a spirit of inclusivity and respect across diverse backgrounds are commendable and inspiring.

 Ahmet shared a profound thought: "Ramadan is time for purifying the soul and re-calibrating oneself. By doing so, you accept that challenges exist, but you are more adamant to get through the year ahead with your renewed sense of optimism."

 These words resonate deeply as we gather here, reflecting on the essence of Ramadan and its transformative power to guide us through life's challenges with an optimistic heart.

 We were graced tonight with the beautiful Adhan by Ibrahim Karaisli, reminding us of the significance of this time. The recitation of the Quran touched our hearts deeply, echoing the profound messages of reflection, patience, and devotion that Ramadan teaches us.

 A special note of appreciation goes to our esteemed keynote speaker, the Honourable Margaret Gardner. Your leadership is precisely what we need in these times. Your words have stayed with me: "All leaders have ambition. However, I've never gone anywhere, I wasn't fundamentally committed to what the institution was or could be. That has driven me. This gives me a passion for what I'm doing. The passion comes from caring about the outcomes for the institution. I am an optimist like most leaders; that goes with the territory. If you weren't an optimist, I think you'd give up." Your passion and optimism have inspired us all, showing us the power of commitment and positive leadership.

 Like the Governor, John Pesutto told me a powerful message: "I'm optimistic because we get so little time to do good. Because of all the pressures, all the challenges that confront leadership, you have to make the most of every opportunity you have. You can't afford, in my view, to dwell or obsess about all the things that can go wrong or that are in your way. There is a joy, a real joy, in achieving something, particularly as a political leader, on behalf of the people you represent. And it might be something little or something unexpected, or it might be something even grander." These words remind us of the importance of focusing on the opportunities for good, rather than the obstacles that may stand in our way.

 Ingrid Stitt's reflections remind us of the transformative power of hope and optimism and what it means to be Australian today.

 She said of her experiences with Australian citizenship ceremonies, "The joy and hope on display that day is the big-hearted, generous, and optimistic Australia that I want to be part of."

 Her words capture the essence of the inclusive and hopeful spirit we celebrate tonight.

 We must also express our deep gratitude to Uncle Shane Charles for the moving Welcome to Country and Didgeridoo Performance. Uncle Shane, you have brought the innate optimism of our First Peoples to this gathering, enriching our evening with the profound wisdom and spirit of the land's traditional custodians. Your presence tonight reminds us of the deep connections we share with this land and each other, forging a path towards reconciliation and mutual respect.

 Let us also thank Mary Gearin for her warm welcome and positive performance and all who have shared their reflections and insights.

 I want to express our collective appreciation to everyone who has contributed to the planning and execution of this memorable Iftar dinner. Your dedication to creating a space where we can come together, share our stories, and learn from one another is invaluable.

 Our collective appreciation extends to the Sofitel staff, whose impeccable service and attention to detail have made this evening not just possible but truly memorable. Your dedication to excellence and hospitality has provided the perfect setting for our gathering, and we are profoundly thankful for your contributions tonight. Your contributions have enriched this gathering immeasurably.

 As we shared this meal, breaking our fast together, we were reminded of the blessings in our lives and the importance of gratitude, compassion, and generosity. These moments of fellowship and reflection genuinely define the spirit of Ramadan.

 As we depart tonight, let us carry forward the spirit of Ramadan—cherishing our shared values, extending our hands in friendship, and building bridges of understanding and respect.

 Thank you all for being part of this beautiful evening. May the rest of Ramadan bring you peace, joy, and blessings.

Read More: The Optimism of Ramadan 2024

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