Address to Parliamentary Friends of Australian Red Cross, Canberra
MON 07 MAY 2012
Can I start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and in a spirit of reconciliation pay my respects to elders past and present, and we’ve listened again to a wonderful Welcome to Country.
Can I acknowledge that today is truly a bipartisan event. I’m here with the Leader of the Opposition – I’m red, he’s always cross, so we’re here together.
Had to do it – sorry.
Christine Milne, the Leader of the Greens is with us and, of course, Warren Truss, the Leader of the National Party.
I’d like to acknowledge the work done by the leaders of the Parliamentary Friends of Red Cross, Graham Perrett, of course from the Labor Party, Jane Prentice from the Liberal Party and Bruce Scott from the National Party. And Christine, herself from the Australian Greens – thank you for bringing parliamentarians in very great numbers together, not only to raise your voices about humanitarian concerns in this Parliament, but also to use your voices to amplify the voice of Red Cross to the Australian people.
And can I take this opportunity, through Michael and Robert and Joan, to say a very big congratulations to Red Cross for everything you do, for the communities across our nation and indeed the work of Red Cross around the world.
This was all very powerfully brought home to me during the days of natural disaster, whether you were in Queensland, you saw the Red Cross there helping people. When I went to Christchurch, you saw the Red Cross there helping people. When I went to Japan and saw the devastation following the tsunami, Red Cross was there helping people.
So right around our nation and around the world, we know that in times of the greatest stress and the greatest need, there are the people of Red Cross, so many of them volunteers out helping their fellow human being, out helping their fellow Australian.
And it makes you feel very proud as an Australian that there is that spirit of volunteerism and community care and concern in our country.
We see all of that during times of disaster and considerable stress, but we should never forget that on each and every day Red Cross is making a difference to someone’s life in our nation.
During the course of 12 months Red Cross will, for example, provide around 800,000 breakfasts to kids going to school, kids who otherwise would start the school day without anything in their tummy, kids from the poorest of backgrounds, being helped each and every day through the marvellous work of Red Cross.
So thank you for everything you do, it’s a great delight to join my fellow leaders and parliamentary colleagues here today to celebrate the work of the Parliamentary Friendship Group and Red Cross itself.