Legislative Council: Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner

The Hon. M. EL DANNAWI (14:45): My question is to the Attorney-General. Will the minister inform the council about the recent Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:46): I thank the honourable member very much for her question about the recent Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner. On 27 March, I was most honoured to attend and deliver a keynote address at the annual Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner. The first Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner was held just last year. At the inaugural dinner the Chief Justice delivered the keynote address and other speakers included Mr Kalil Shahin, Ms Marie Shaw KC, the President of the South Australian Bar Association, and Professor Mohamad Abdalla.

Iftar is the post-sunset meal eaten by Muslims to break the Ramadan fast. It is the most important meal of the day and the main meal for those who are fasting and observing Ramadan. The Law Society and the South Australian Bar Association partner with Pinnacle College and the McYess organisation to organise the Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner. An import aspect of Pinnacle College's work is their engagement with other faiths in projects designed to encourage interfaith and cross-cultural exchanges.

Certainly at a time of heightened global tension the Iftar dinner provided an important opportunity to focus on those fundamental values of respect, dignity and rationality, which are core values developed by the legal system and indeed the world's major religions. This year's dinner was an even larger event than last year's, and it was an honour to deliver the keynote address. The Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner is all about coming together, fostering connection and understanding across cultures and faiths.

As I said, this coming together is especially important in the turbulent times in which we live. In answer to this global turbulence, the South Australian government has recently announced a support package for new arrivals fleeing conflict, and it was a privilege to be able to outline those as part of my address. These supports include support for families to access private rental, waiver of public hospital costs, dedicated mental health funding, grocery vouchers and waiving international student fees for school-aged children in government schools. I am proud that, as a government, we have been able to put some of these supports in place and hope that they provide a small measure of comfort to those seeking a safe and secure place to call home.

Others present at the Judiciary and Legal Community Iftar Dinner included the evening's host, Dr Mehmet Aslan from Pinnacle College, Mr Ibrahim Karaisli and Ms Shanelle Franklin as emcee. The Chief Justice the Hon. Chris Kourakis delivered a vote of thanks and the Chief Executive of the Law Society, Ms Diana Newcombe, presented a reflection on the night.

Musical performances were a highlight of the evening. The Pinnacle College Junior Choir performed some fantastic numbers, including a song about Ramadan and a modern interpretation of Keep On Movin' by Five. In a more traditional vein, the feature musician of the night was Ms Maryam Rahmani, who gave a captivating performance on the dutar, an Iranian instrument similar to a lute.

After dinner, entertainment included a quiz where, amongst the trivia, many people who participated gleaned that the word Ramadan translates to 'scorching heat'. It was a very competitive quiz that saw a number of members test their general knowledge and their understanding of the world in a format that was very entertaining.

I would like to acknowledge those who made the evening possible, including the Law Society, the University of Adelaide, McYess and Pinnacle College, and members of the judiciary, particularly the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who has been a big supporter of holding these sorts of events for understanding. As Ramadan now concludes and we enter the post-Ramadan holiday of Eid al-Fitr, I would like to wish all Muslims Eid Fitr Saeed.