Thursday, 18 October 2018
Parker, Mr Daniel 'Stix'
I rise to ask for the Federation Chamber's support for our local potential Invictus Games champion, Daniel 'Stix' Parker. Stix has got an absolutely incredible story. In his own words, Stix says that he has had more surgeries than birthdays, at just 29 years of age. He has had bilateral surgeries on his knees and ankles, he has pins in his hips and he has a battery pack for his spine, but he has a 'go get 'em' attitude, I have to tell you.
I met Stix last week in Hervey Bay with the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Darren Chester. He's also known for a very interesting fact—that is, he is the youngest member of the executive of an RSL sub-branch in the entire country, the Toogoom RSL sub-branch. I think that's an incredible achievement for someone who has served our country and is so very passionate about continuing to give back. He also suffers from PTSD but he's a very down-to-earth young man, who is competing, I'm advised, in the 100 metres, the 200 metres, the 400 metres, the long jump and the relay.
You might not know it, Mr Deputy Speaker Howarth, but I once used to be involved with things that were a little bit athletic. I wasn't that good at it, but I know a little bit about it. I said to Stix: 'Are you doing a crouch start or a standing start?' He said: 'Mate, I always do a standing start. If I go to a crouch start it has the potential to pull the wires out of my spine.' This is a gentleman who, I've got to say, has got some serious wheels. His time for the hundred, hand timed, is 12.2 seconds. That is a very, very serious athlete. We expect that he is going to go very well. In fact, I'd compare him to Damian Drum's horse in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday, but I think Stix is a much better chance. If you want to get out there and get your hard-earned on someone, it is Stix Parker. He is a real chance for a gold in the Invictus Games.
On a more serious note for the games, Stix tells me he's already met His Royal Highness Prince Harry—he met him at a previous games, in 2017—and he had a very good conversation with him. In fact, he provided him with a wood-turned pen, a wooden pen, which he put together. One of those things that Stix does with his PTSD, in his own words once again, when things get him down, when it gets a bit tough, is turn things on a wood lathe. So he produced a pen, which he's given to His Royal Highness Prince Harry, and I'm sure that is something he'll raise with him again.
He is also husband to a beautiful wife and a good role model for his children. He applied for the Invictus Games in 2018 to show that, no matter what games we play in our heads, they are just that—games. We can overcome them through sport or by reaching out to a fellow mate. We would say to all of our veterans: here is an opportunity, because for Stix sport is what gets him out of the house and off the couch. I think that is a great lesson to all of our youth. No matter what the difficulties are in your own life there is an opportunity in sport to get yourself involved and get active.
Our local veterans are a very strong group. There are approximately 4,000 veterans in Hinkler. At the Toogoom sub-branch, of which Stix is a member of the executive, they have one of the first Vietnam-era sheds that were distributed by the federal government. They have done an incredible job with something that, according to His Excellency Peter Cosgrove, was designed to withstand mortars. The shed has been converted into a wet bar, storage, showers and toilets, and media rooms and facilities. I've been there a number of times. It is a class act, and they have worked incredibly hard to put this together. The Toogoom RSL sub-branch started from very humble beginnings. They now have this Vietnam-era shed. They also have an APC, with support from the federal government. One of the Vietnam-era APCs is available for viewing at Toogoom RSL sub-branch, a small community in my electorate right down on the water between Burrum Heads and Hervey Bay. It is part of the proposed military trail from Hervey Bay to Maryborough in the electorate of Wide Bay and, of course, at Toogoom. There are real opportunities for tourism and to demonstrate how committed we are to our veterans and those who have served.
But today it is all about Stix Parker. He is a real chance. You should back Stix. I think he will win the hundred. I think he'll do it absolutely in a canter. He will be living up to his own motto: 'challenge accepted'. It is good to see that sport is working so well, helping our veterans who struggle on return from their service to our nation. Congratulations to Stix. Mate, go well. We look forward to your coming home to town with your gold medal—if not one, then two, three or four.