House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016


Australia Day Honours

9:05 pm

Photo of Brett WhiteleyBrett Whiteley (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It is a pleasure tonight to report to the House the recipients of the Australia Day awards in Braddon. Bruce Reginald French AO received an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Australia Day awards. Bruce has contributed significantly to agricultural sciences with his work in gathering edible plant information. In 1999 Bruce founded Food Plants International, an online platform that documents edible plant species worldwide. The aim of Bruce's website is to provide information about edible plants with the objective of helping those in poverty feed themselves using their own local plants. The website has the world's largest database of edible food plants, with information now on over 27,000 plants. Bruce's work has led to improved food security, greater nutritional information and improved health outcomes for people across the globe in developing countries.

Just as an aside, my wife and I spent many years in full-time ministry with the church. I had the pleasure of serving many of those years with Bruce French. You would not meet a man more passionate about justice, feeding the poor or teaching those who live in impoverished conditions how to help themselves. I congratulate Bruce. I particularly want to mention his late wife, Helen, who worked alongside him for so many years, and his wife of today, Deb.

Lawrence 'Buzz' Ronald Green AM from Devonport in my electorate was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia. Buzz received his award also for his service to agriculture, with his work focusing on horticultural sustainability as well as research and product agronomy. Buzz is also the director and chairman of four agricultural companies and has received an Ausveg lifetime achievement award. Buzz is also behind the Learn Grow project, working towards combatting famine in Third World countries. John Leonard Campbell received the Emergency Service Medal for his work serving the community through the emergency services. John Clemhill Richardson was awarded the Ambulance Service Medal. Fiona Tustian was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal and Senior Sergeant Kerrie Whitwam received an Australian Police Medal.

Recognising our emergency service personnel in the Australia Day awards is especially poignant in my electorate. With 81 fires still burning in Tasmania tonight yet no lives lost, we are always reminded of the work our emergency service personnel do to keep our communities safe. They are the unsung heroes who work days, nights, weekends and public holidays—weeks on end, in fact—when an emergency situation arises.

Along with the major national awards that took place around Australia are the local council awards that recognise those who do the work in the local communities, often as volunteers. In Waratah-Wynyard, the citizen of the year was Fiona Dowling, for her work in bringing women together through Sisterhood. The young citizen of the year was Nikkita Popowski, for working with young children in Wynyard Gymnastics. The event of the year was the Australian 4 Day Enduro, with 230 competitors from across Australia.

In King Island, Bernadette Weitjens was the citizen of the year. The young citizens of the year were Craig Constable and Samantha Constable, who volunteer with the fire and ambulance services. The community event of the year was the King Island Boat Club's Stonehaven Cup. In Central Coast Betsy Compagne won the citizen of the year. The young citizen of the year was Cameron Hingston, particularly for her efforts in basketball mentoring and refereeing. The community group of the year went to the Lions Club of Ulverstone.

In the city of Devonport, the citizen of the year was Toni Muir, for extensive volunteering in the local community through St Vincent De Paul. Declan Vertigan won the young citizen of the year for redevelopment of the maritime section of Devonport. The event of the year was White Ribbon Walk the Talk event highlighting domestic violence. Joan Fawdry, well known to many, was the citizen of the year in Burnie for her work with Make a Wish. Natasha Bakker was the young citizen of the year for her volunteering work with the north west musical societies and groups. The community event of the year was Breaker Morant, a local independent theatre production. Shirley Mathewson, for decades of volunteering in the local community, won the West Coast citizen of the year, and the event of the year was the Beach to Bay Strahan fun run.

Lizzy Gale in Smithton won the citizen of the year for her great work. Eli Perry, won the young citizen of the year, and the community group of the year was the RSL down there for their work in the commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac. Ron Hedditch and Phil Hedditch won in Latrobe for their beautification of Pig Island. Hayley Crack won for her extensive community involvement in La Trobe, and the Latrobe Football Club won for the hosting of many NTFL/NWFL grand finals.