Statements By Members – House Of Representatives

Statements by Members is an occasion in the House of Representatives when members have 90 seconds to speak on any subject they wish.

Statements by Members is usually held at 1.45pm for 15 minutes prior to Question Time.

Members usually take the opportunity to make a brief statement about people, events or occasions of note in their electorates.

The audio and text of Statements by Members for November 29, 2004 are shown below.

  • Listen to Statements by Members (15m – transcript below)

Hansard transcript of Statements by Members, November 29, 2004.

Ms CORCORAN (1:45 PM) —So often local people who put so much into their community do not receive recognition unless they are in the media spotlight. However, once in a while somebody truly dedicated and excellent is recognised and given the kudos they deserve. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of recognising the achievements of one such person—Mal Lehner. Mal has put years of work and commitment into his local football club, the Seaford Junior Football Club.

On Father’s Day this year, I was invited by the club to their annual presentation day to award Mal with his Commonwealth Sports Award. Mal was nominated for the award by his colleagues, who were impressed by Mal’s dedication to the club and his work with the junior players. His work has fostered talent and given confidence to those who needed a little extra help. Not only did Mal play as a junior for the club for five years; he then returned as a trainer. His nephew was there playing for the club, continuing the family tradition.

In 1996 Mal began coaching the team he once played in as a youngster. He stepped aside in 2003 because the club could only field one team, but he has returned this year to coach the under-nines—the most inexperienced players in the club. Mal has a very encouraging coaching style. It is based on giving positive feedback and facilitating an inclusive atmosphere amongst the players. Last year Mal was rewarded with a life membership of the Seaford Junior Football Club in recognition of his 16 years service in different capacities in the club. (Time expired)

Mrs DRAPER (1:46 PM) —Mr Speaker, I congratulate you on your election to such high office. I rise to speak today in support of the aims of a group of parents and community leaders who have formed Dignity for the Disabled to lobby the government of South Australia for more support for intellectually disabled people. For too long, the Rann Labor government has ignored the plight of the disabled and their families. That is why these community based groups have taken the unprecedented step of organising a very public campaign to demand that their needs be heard on North Terrace.

Group leader David Holst and other parents have raised in the vicinity of $100,000 for their campaign, which demonstrates the seriousness and urgency of the situation, particularly for the Moving On program. The program was designed as a day-stay program which provides social interaction and self-development for school leavers. It used to be five days a week, but this had been cut back to three and even fewer due to underfunding by the state government. While Minister Jay Weatherill has made an announcement, probably only because of adverse publicity, to now fund it five days a week, this performance is not good enough.

Most people would find it difficult to imagine how stressful daily life is for the parents of children who require around-the-clock care, and, to make it even harder, these are not small children but grown adults. The level of stress is magnified by the fact that this supervision is needed seven days a week for anything up to 30 or 40 years. According to David Holst, there are 330 people on the waiting list for urgent intellectual disability services council residential care. Premier Rann and his government must take immediate action to remedy this situation. (Time expired)

Ms BURKE (1:48 PM) —Mr Speaker, congratulations on your elevation to this role. I rise today to say congratulations also to the Victorian nominee for the Australian of the Year—Captain Rodney Cox, who is an extraordinary human being. In his 28 years of life, he has managed to put in an enormous amount. Sadly, Rodney is no longer a constituent of mine—since the recent redistribution of electorates—but I got to know Rodney very well when he was the resident captain of the reservist Army barracks in Huntingdale. Rodney then went to serve in Timor with INTERFET, and he was unfortunately involved in the Bali bombing. For this event Rodney has been recognised by the Army.

He then decided that he needed a quieter life. He managed to do six weeks of his articles and then took a posting with the UN, where, yes, you guessed it, he was blown up in Iraq. He has been nominated for a bravery award, and I hope he is recognised for that service. Rodney has left Iraq, but he is now serving in Kabul in Afghanistan, in the area of security. It is a very risky pursuit, but he is doing it with absolute fervour and his normal dedication. Rodney is an exceptional person. I fervently hope that he will be made the Australian of the Year, because he sums up what we need to hold near and dear in our lives at the moment—mateship, commitment to your country. I congratulate him on his Victorian nomination and hope that we will get to congratulate him on Australia Day.

Mr JOHNSON (1:50 PM) —Last Friday, 26 November, I had the wonderful opportunity of hosting the 2004 Ryan Recognition Awards. It is the third occasion that I have had the opportunity of doing this. We held it at Nudgee Junior College in Indooroopilly, in the Ryan electorate. We had an enormous number of residents from the community—in excess of 350—come along. It was a wonderful gathering of young people, businesspeople, community leaders and those many residents of Ryan who have made service to the community their No. 1 priority.

When I first initiated these awards, we had only some 25 to 30 recipients. On this occasion the recipients are too many to name and too many to be able to speak of all their contributions to the Ryan community. But I want to pay tribute in the parliament today to those people who, from across the spectrum of business, schools and community organisations such as Rotary and Lions, have really led the way, showing how Australians give their time very generously to their fellow Australians. I want to mention very quickly the three categories that we had. We had the Ryan youth recognition awards, the Ryan Recognition Awards and a special category for young people from school who will clearly show the way in the future. (Time expired)

Mr MURPHY (1:51 PM) —Amongst the questions I placed on the first Notice Paper of this parliament is question No. 40, addressed on 17 November 2004 to the Minister representing the Special Minister of State. My question asks what the minister is doing to ensure that visually impaired and blind people are able to independently cast a vote at the next federal election.

The Royal Blind Society of New South Wales and the Association of Blind Citizens of New South Wales are located in Enfield and Burwood respectively. I am very proud to report to the House that these wonderful institutions that do so much to help the visually impaired are both situated in my electorate of Lowe. In this modern and very technological age, there is no reason why people who are visually impaired cannot be afforded the right to cast a vote in secret. This is their democratic right. Accordingly, I call on the government and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters to immediately investigate this matter and provide the technology and a system that will allow visually impaired people to vote independently at the next federal election, which is expected in 2007. I urge all members of this House to support this initiative.

Mr BARTLETT (1:53 PM) —Last Saturday I attended a presentation ceremony for members of the local brigades of the Rural Fire Service, to present the national medal and long service awards. This was the third such ceremony in the last two months. Also in that time I attended a similar ceremony for the State Emergency Service members in the Blue Mountains. All these ceremonies recognised the outstanding efforts of close to 100 men and women in the local brigades and SES. These awards range from 15 years to 50 years of service to the local community—voluntary service totalling many hundreds of years, with hundreds of hours for each of those years; service at great personal cost and cost to their own families; and service on the front line, which, in the face of blazing infernos and other dangers, involves serious risks to their own lives.

Most communities have their army of emergency service and firefighting volunteers, yet the nature of the Blue Mountains makes us particularly prone to the fury of nature. The incredible efforts of the men and women of organisations such as the RFS and the SES, not to mention others such as the ambulance service and the Red Cross, provide much-needed and greatly appreciated protection for our local community. We thank them for their outstanding effort and congratulate them for these thoroughly deserved awards.

Ms PLIBERSEK (1:54 PM) —I rise today because I have been presented with a petition from 1,622 local artists calling for the fair treatment of artists. It is fair to say that the contribution of artists is often overlooked in the Australian community. As for so many people who undertake work that they truly love, often the remuneration is simply not there; they are expected to work for love. These 1,622 artists ask that—instead of being expected to fulfil the cliche of the starving artist—consistent with the recommendations of the Myer report, they are properly remunerated for some of the work they do.

When the coalition government was first elected in 1996, a mandatory fee that was usually paid to artists who were exhibiting in publicly funded galleries was withdrawn. That has made an enormous difference to the income of the average artist. The artists who signed the petition want to see that fee reinstated, consistent with the recommendations of the Myer report. It is worth remembering that the median income for artists in 2000-01 was about $18,500. That of course includes some—very few—very highly paid artists. This is just above the poverty line. We need to work together to ensure that artists no longer fulfil the cliche of the starving artist.

Mr McARTHUR (1:55 PM) —In the Otways, in the heartland of Corangamite, the Victorian government is set to create a 100,000-hectare national park. The Minister for Environment, John Thwaites, announced this yesterday. It will be a nine times increase. I put on the public record concern about what resources will be devoted to this national park. Will the roads that were provided by the timber industry in the previous 40 years be maintained? Will the national park be able to fight another Ash Wednesday? Will the resources of the Victorian government be allocated to maintain the park, to make sure that weeds such as blackberries do not get out of control, that feral animals are kept under control and that access will be available for the residents of Corangamite? And will the state government be accountable in the way in which they maintain the park and put on the public record the value that the park now has and the value the park might have in another 10 years? This is a very critical issue.

The Bracks government threw out the RFA in the Otways and are to remove logging by the year 2008, and they have now created this massive national park. But they have given no undertaking or guarantee that they will maintain the Otway National Park in its present state and that they will do so in the future, and they have given no guarantee of the amount of money they will put in the budget. Also, will the fuel reduction burning that should be undertaken to maintain the biodiversity in that park be undertaken on an annual basis to ensure that the quality of the park remains? (Time expired)

Ms ANNETTE ELLIS (1:57 PM) —My congratulations to you, Mr Speaker, on your election to your office. In my electorate I have a Burns Club—in fact, one of the largest in the world. They very proudly sponsor a Burns Club Pipe Band. It is my pleasure to tell this House that, over the last two years, the members of that band did some fairly serious fundraising and managed to get enough money together to send a group of nearly 200 people to Scotland a couple of months ago for the world championship pipe band competition. They sent a second grade and fourth grade band across. The second grade band, amongst other things, won a fourth place. The fourth grade band won a first place. They had an extremely successful tour of Scotland, around Glasgow, Perth and Crieff, just north of Perth, and came back not only having achieved a great deal of success but also having represented my community extremely well.

Of course, the thing that makes it even better for me is that this band, under Pipe Major Athol Chalmers, actually runs a college to ensure that young pipers and young drummers are encouraged to take up their musical talent with pipe band music. With that group of 200 were included several very young students who are now budding pipers and drummers of the future. I would like to endorse to the House the very great success of the Burns Club Pipe Band at that competition. (Time expired)

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