House debates

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Constituency Statements

Bennelong Electorate: Australia Day Awards

4:04 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

A number of local residents have received awards in recent months, and I would like to congratulate two of them today. I would like to draw attention to a particularly distinguished member of my electorate of Bennelong, Mr Hassib Elias, and his exceptional work for our community. Mr Elias has been a resident of Ryde for more than 50 years and during that time has been involved in numerous community projects and efforts. In recent years, he has devoted himself to assisting refugees and new migrants to the local area. Among other things, this includes finding them housing, employment and translation services. Diverse communities such as Bennelong owe an enormous debt of gratitude to individuals like Mr Elias. Without their work, so many newcomers to our country would find their new life here so much harder than it needs to be. In addition to his work with migrants and refugees, Mr Elias is the president of the Australian Palestinian Association and a long-serving member of the City of Ryde's Multicultural Advisory Committee.

It should be abundantly clear that Mr Elias has put community service at the core of his life. I'm very proud to inform the House that because of his marvellous record he was recently named as the City of Ryde Citizen of the Year during the council's Australia Day ceremony. There is certainly no-one more deserving of this honour. Mr Elias's example is a reminder for all of us to embrace new members of our community so that they feel valued and respected. Only then can our communities live together in harmony and prosper.

I would like to also inform the House of a particularly notable woman by the name of Tanya Lee and her exceptional career in the charitable sector. Ms Lee has spent most of her working life assisting charitable enterprises in one way or another and has made tremendous contributions to our community. She has previously worked for the Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse and Special Olympics, among many others. In 2008 she founded her own charitable organisation, the CorriLee Foundation, named after her grandmother, Corrie Lee. The organisation's core roles are partnering good causes with the right benefactors and hosting major charity fundraising events. To this end, the CorriLee Foundation has raised over $350,000 to assist a variety of charities, including the Mirabel Foundation, SANE Australia, Kids Helpline, Alzheimer's Australia and Dying with Dignity, to name a few.

I have had the good fortune to be friends with Ms Lee for over 40 years. In that time I've seen firsthand her exceptional contribution to our community. It came as no surprise to me that Ms Lee was recently awarded the medal of the Order of Australia for her services to charity in the recent Australia Day honours. (Time expired)