Thursday, 11 February 2010
McPherson Electorate: Australia Day
Australia Day is a day to reflect on what we have achieved as a nation. It is a day for each of us to commit to making Australia an even better place for the future and it is a day when we welcome our newest Aussies—those people who have decided to make Australia their home. Citizenship ceremonies take place right around the nation, and in my electorate of McPherson I was proud to attend two such ceremonies as the presiding officer.
Today I want to pay tribute to the two wonderful organisations and the people involved who host these events each year. Both organisations have actually hosted these citizenship ceremonies since 2005 and, as presiding officer at both events, I want to extend my personal thanks to all those people involved in the organisation. Both events were very special to me this year as they will be my last as the member for McPherson. As someone who took out Australian citizenship many years ago, I can relate to these new Aussies. I can relate to the final decision each has made to become an Australian and what it will mean to each of them in the future.
My first thanks go to Currumbin RSL, to the President, Mr Ron Workman OAM, and the many veterans who attended the ceremony this year, to Vice President, Bill Thompson, Gordon, Brian, the two Rons, club patron Mr Sam Dixon OAM, to name but a few, and Robin Beard from the Mudgeeraba Light Horse, who attended dressed in his uniform of the Light Horse. This year we were joined by a very special guest, Mr Keith Payne VC, OAM, who is the last living Australian recipient of the original Victoria Cross. Keith was joined by his wife, Flo, and Marg Workman, two very special ladies. Also in attendance on the day was the Deputy Mayor of the Gold Coast, Councillor Daphne McDonald and Cheryl from Currumbin RSL, who undertook all the plans for the day. To all of you, my special thanks on behalf of our new Aussie citizens and me for making the morning so memorable.
The second ceremony was held at the Mudgeeraba Memorial Hall and was hosted by the Lions Club of Mudgeeraba. The Lions Club, as I said at the beginning, has also hosted this evening since 2005. I want to thank Lions President, Russell White, for his support of the event this year. The Lions provided a wonderful Aussie barbeque for the new Aussies. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Australia Day than with plenty of sausages and rissoles, all washed down with a cold beer. Special thanks must go to Lion Ken Phillips, Lion George O’Brien and Lion Vic Knowles for the excellent support they give this annual event. Councillor Ted Shepherd and his wife, Sue, have also supported this event each year and were there again this year. Our new Aussies at this ceremony get to sing some great Aussie songs and hear some bush poetry reading, including The Man from Snowy River, from George O’Brien. All in all it is a great fun evening, sharing plenty of Aussie humour, great Aussie tucker and Aussie camaraderie.
I will always have fond memories of both these events, the organisations involved, the people involved and of course our very new Australian citizens.