House debates

Monday, 30 November 2020

Private Members' Business

Scouting and Guiding Movement

5:22 pm

Photo of Terry YoungTerry Young (Longman, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That this House:

(1) notes:

(a) the enormous success the scouting and guiding movement has had around the world in promoting personal development programs for children and young adults from 5 to 25 years old; and

(b) that the world scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden-Powell in 1907;

(2) recognises that scouting is one of the most popular programs worldwide for personal development with over 500 million people going through the scouts and guides;

(3) further notes that in 2007 the scouting movement celebrated its 100th anniversary since its founding; and

(4) congratulates Scouts Australia, Girl Guides Australia and the World Organization of the Scout Movement for continuing to provide an outlet for children to channel their desire for adventure, education and fun, and for providing ongoing assistance around our communities.

There are certain qualities that many people aspire to which are highly valued in our society: being respectful, friendly and considerate; caring for others and the environment and using resources wisely; doing what is right and being trustworthy, honest and fair; doing your best; believing in yourself; learning from experiences; and facing challenges with courage. As a business owner and employer, these are the sorts of qualities I look for when I'm hiring a new employee or selecting someone for promotion. These important qualities are the values that are taught by Scouts and Girl Guides groups in my electorate of Longman and right across Australia. For more than 100 years the Scouts and Girl Guides have been helping to build and develop the confidence of young people, not just here in Australia but in many countries around the world. Children and young adults aged from five to 25 have been learning outdoor skills while developing a sense of adventure, teamwork, creativity and independence. The personal development programs of the Scouts and Girl Guides have been an important opportunity for young people in communities right across the country to develop the skills that put them on the path to future success.

Businessman Dick Smith, Formula One legend Sir Jack Brabham and celebrities like Shane Jacobson and Bert Newton were all once Scouts. Wildlife ambassador and TV personality Robert Irwin is a Scouts Queensland ambassador. Former Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson was in the Scouts. Around the world, other famous Scouts include Billy Connolly, Bill Gates, Sir Paul McCartney, David Beckham, Venus Williams and Bear Grylls. The Scouts and Girl Guides are still amongst the most popular programs worldwide for personal development in young people.

In my electorate of Longman we are very blessed with six different Scout groups, in Woodford, Caboolture, Morayfield, Burpengary, Narangba and Bribie Island.

Thousands of people have been through the doors of these groups over the years, and there are currently about 350 youth members across these six groups. They continue to do a great job working with young people in my electorate and providing them with the skills and values that will help put them on the pathway to success.

Perhaps surprising in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, scouting in my home state of Queensland has seen significant growth in membership figures since April. Membership in the Longman scouting groups has increased 22.7 per cent in the past eight months, and that trend continues to rise.

When the schools and other organisations ceased to meet face to face back in April, Scouts Queensland launched the Scouting@Home program. More than 400 online resources were created, which enabled the Scouts to continue weekly meetings and activities. In fact many of the resources created in Queensland were used in other states as well.

The scouting theme for 2020, very appropriately, has been resilience. A recent survey conducted by Scouts Australia found that Scouts demonstrated a far wider range of resilient behaviours than their peers. Like many groups, they need volunteers to help out and there are a range of different roles available.

Local Scouts and Guides groups also need to raise funds so their members can enjoy the many activities and events these groups participate in. State scouting bodies have accessed government grants at different times, though most of their revenue comes from local fundraising activities, donations and membership fees. As you can imagine, COVID-19 restrictions have prevented many of these fundraising activities like the Bunnings sausage sizzles. Despite this, Scouts Australia is still going strong with around 70,000 members and it is part of a much larger global family.

The scouting movement around the world has around 40 million members. When the Scouts were first established in my home state of Queensland in 1908, the movement spread rapidly. It was soon apparent that many girls wanted to become Scouts too, and so the Girl Guides was formed the following year. There have been more than a million Girl Guides in Australia since that time. Globally, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has 10 million members from 150 different countries.

Next year the Scouts in Australia will celebrate their 113th birthday and the Girl Guides their 112th. Congratulations Scouts Australia, Girl Guides Australia and the World Organization of the Scout Movement for helping our kids learn the values and skills that ultimately make our communities a better place in which to live.

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Is the motion seconded?

Photo of Katie AllenKatie Allen (Higgins, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.

5:27 pm

Photo of Julie OwensJulie Owens (Parramatta, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In academic circles and among business thinkers around the world at the moment, there's a real focus on how to develop a commercially viable business that delivers social good rather than a one-on-one transaction that does what it does and delivers a social good to the broader community. You can see it through exploration of social enterprise and impact investing, and even great academics like Michael Porter will say to you that something has to be commercially viable if it's going to scale. If you want something that will solve social good, you need to make it commercially viable in order for it to scale. Every time I hear that—and I am quite a fan of Michael Porter and a whole range of others; and I read a lot of academic research because it's really interesting—I think, yeah, except for surf life saving, Country Women's Association, amateur sport and Scouts. There are many others: these organisations that form as a tiny little bud, scale around the world and 100 years or more later they're still flourishing with more loyalty and commitment than you find in any commercial business and living longer than most commercial companies.

Something very special happens when a good idea takes root in a community, and they pick it up as volunteers, and Scouts and Guides are no doubt that. Formed, as it was, by Lord Baden-Powell in 1907, was the world scouting movement. Parramatta picked it up in 1908. One year later the Parramatta Scout Group was established, one of the first in Australia—of course, because we're Parramatta; we do that—and it is still thriving. In fact now we have 12 Scout groups in the electorate of Parramatta, and I am going to name them—there are 1,000 members at least. They are the 1st/2nd Second Merrylands (St Anne's) Scout Group; the 1st/2nd Second Merrylands (St Anne's) Rover Crew; the 3rd Merrylands Scout Group; the 1st Westmead Scout Group; the 1st Westmead Rover Crew; the 1st Granville Scout Group; and the 1st Rydalmere Scout Group, which is reopening because the interest in scouting is growing again, largely because of COVID, and looking for outdoor activities and really safe places for children to be, and the Scouts organisation have worked so hard to make sure they're COVID-safe. You can absolutely guarantee that they will follow the rules that they set down, and you know your child will actually be doing the things they say they are going to do. Children are returning to scouts.

These are the ones reopening. We have the 1st Parramatta Scout Group—that is, the really old one—the 1st Toongabbie Scout Group, the 1st Carlingford Scout Group, the Western Sydney Buddha's Light International Association Scout Group and the Kings Langley Rover Scout Unit Westmead, which is reopening for joeys and cubs right now, again, because the interest in scouting is growing.

What a great bunch of people they are. I have spent quite a bit of time with my local scouts, various groups of them. I've been there for all sorts of events and they are an amazing bunch of people. Five hundred scouts attend the Dawn Service in Parramatta every year—500 of them! We have three or four RSLs, so we have a few dawn services in Parramatta; I can't get to them all. They tend to stagger them, so I can rush from one to the other in many cases. That 500 scouts attend in Parramatta alone really is quite amazing.

Looking back at the history of volunteers with Scouts, we have had volunteers like Annette Douglas, who has been a cub scout leader with Parramatta Scout Group since 1990 and an honorary leader since 2017. She's over 80 now and she is still there contributing actively and supporting young people in our community; what an extraordinary contribution she has made. This year Annette received an OAM in the Australia Day 2020 honours for her contribution to youth and scouts—incredibly deserving. Sandy Knox has been with Ermington Scouts since 2004. She has served as a leader with joeys, cubs and venturers and has been instrumental in putting on major local events like the Parramatta district fun day and the annual New South Wales cuborees. Leonie Plumber has been part of Carlingford Scouts since 1992. She trained hundreds of joeys in this time while working with children in her own scout group.

Every year I get invited to the Cumberland Gang Show, which is over 50 years old. In the last 16 years, I've been to it 14 times. It is an extraordinary organisation with an extraordinary bunch who keep that institution alive year after year after year. Every time someone tells me you if it's not commercially viable, it can't scale, think Scouts, an organisation of 100 years.

5:32 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It is a great pleasure to support the motion of my friend, the member for Longman. It is a cracker motion because it gives us all the opportunity to talk about the valuable contribution that Guides and Scouts provide for our community. Particularly this year, when our young Australians needed the opportunity to continue to keep in touch with their friends, Scouts and Guides provided that opportunity. When you think about it, has their motto of 'be prepared' ever been more relevant than it has been this year in 2020? We all needed to be more prepared and they are the kinds of things they are teaching scouts and guides, those leadership skills and opportunities for life.

My electorate in Ryan is home to eight fantastic scout groups—the Kenmore group, the Moggill group, the Barton group, the Enoggera Scout Group, the Indooroopilly group, Taringa Milton Toowong Group, Grovely Mitchelton and the St John's Wood group at Ashgrove.

I was a very proud Scout at the Moggill Scout Group, where I learned some of those very important skills all of our local kids, leaders and families learn. My dad was a community leader. Like so many other community leaders, I saw him work incredibly hard. Even long after I left that scouting group, he was there supporting local people. For a number of years after I left Scouts, I was the chairman for the Tyakunda district, supporting our uniformed volunteers in Scouts as well, which was a tremendous privilege.

I can't say I've had the same connection with the Girl Guides; I was never a Girl Guide. But we have five Girl Guide groups who do a fantastic job in our local electorate of Ryan. We have Girl Guides at Kenmore district, St Lucia district, Moggill district, Walton Bridge/The Gap district, and at the Bardon district. I really want to pay tribute to scout and girl guide groups in the Ryan electorate. They are essential local community groups that facilitate the personal progression of those young men and women. The youth program is concentrating, for the scouts, particularly on leadership and teamwork in the categories of the outdoors, community involvement, creativity and personal growth.

They of course rely very heavily on fundraising and donations as well as membership fees. That has been very difficult in this year of COVID-19, but they have done tremendously well. The Taringa Milton Toowong Scout Group in particular have their annual mulch drive. Normally I am there with my shovel bagging up mulch myself, but that wasn't possible with COVID-19. It was a much smaller operation this year, but they still did get their normal mulch drive out in some way, shape or fashion. My wife, Maddy, and I were very pleased to be able to be a keen purchaser of the mulch for the garden but also to support that fantastic scout group. Likewise, the Kenmore Scout Group are always out there supporting our local community. They were out there for Clean Up Australia Day on 1 March. Again, it has been hard for them to fundraise, but they've persevered and they recently finished up their fundraising raffle as well.

More than that, we are also proud to support them as a government. One of the examples of where we're reaching out to support the scouts and the guides is St Johns Wood Scout Group through the government's Stronger Communities Program. I've been able to support them as a local MP to undertake some much-needed club refurbishments to their 45-year-old building. If you visit their clubhouse and see what the improvements look like, including a new roof, they have put the Stronger Communities Program grant to very good use and they've driven the money a long way. Not only has it given them a new roof and a building that is fit for purpose for their activities going forward; it will now allow them to put solar panels on the roof, to be installed in the near future, to make the building more environmentally friendly and improve their sustainability.

This group has provided, as all the groups have, a much-needed and important local connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the energy and initiative of the St Johns Wood Scout Group during COVID-19 has seen its membership grow and increase, from 88 in April 2019 to 134 today, because they were on Zoom and they were continuing to look out for and support each other. Their group leader, Alan Brake, said, 'Scouts volunteers have implemented additional sanitising to continue to deliver important training under a COVID-safe plan.' Many parents have expressed their appreciation for the pivotal stability that these scouting programs have provided during these difficult times. Scouts contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potential as individuals. I congratulate all the volunteers, scouts and guides in the Ryan electorate.

5:37 pm

Photo of Meryl SwansonMeryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

I rewind the clock back to 1978, when I promised that I would do my best to do my duty to God, to serve the Queen, to help others and to keep the brownie guide law—it sticks in my memory—as I made my brownie girl guides salute. In those days, as brownies we wore the brown tunic with the leather belt. We even wore brown undies, Deputy Speaker. What fantastic times we had.

As a kid that was born with much older siblings, I was on my own a fair bit, so mum sent me along to brownies. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I went on to be a girl guide and, again, truly loved those experiences. Whether it was doing badges—I can still tie a reef knot, a bowline, half-hitches and a few other things, which keeps me reasonably handy around the farm from time to time and on the occasional boat—or other activities, I think about those things that we learnt in brownies and guides over the years. Things like reflecting on that promise, a duty, a sense of community service, whether it was going to help out in the community or whether it was going on pack holidays and learning to get along with other people and just being good members of a group, it was such an important and informative time for all of us learning together.

Now that I really think back on it as a member of parliament, I didn't quite realise how much of our First Nations culture we embraced as girl guides and brownies. I think back to some of my pack leaders and I think of brown owl Elizabeth Masterman, who still lives in Pelaw Main not very far from me. Even when I go to Coles and do the shopping I still refer to her as Brown Owl, and she says, 'Meryl, you should call me Elizabeth', and I say, 'You will always be Brown Owl to me.' It's just one of those things.

Brownies, Guides, Scouts and Venturers give kids a sense of belonging, a sense of duty and a sense of respect. These are all values which we all need. As we're growing up—it doesn't matter whether you're religious, not religious, Liberal, Labor, Nats, Callithumpian or Independent—we all need to learn those core beliefs that make us good citizens. We might embellish those values as we get older, with different beliefs of how we should get to that common goal but, at the end of the day, we want to be good citizens, we want to contribute and we want to have a sense of duty to our community and ourselves. I honestly believe that Girl Guiding and Scouting give young children that. So even if your child may not be particularly sporty or musical but you want them to be involved in a group that will give them good practical skills and that will allow them to reach into experiences that wouldn't have through that in a million years they would experience, Scouting and Girl Guiding do a fantastic job.

Scouts Australia has over 17,000 youth and adult members, and Guides have over 30,000 members. Young people thrive from the life skills and socialisation that these groups provide. Again, friendships that we made as Brownies and Guides and that I know that young people make today will stand you in good stead over the years—and you just never know when you will bump into someone again or retain those friendships.

I want to send a shout-out to my Scouts groups. The Port Stephens Scouts have Tilligerry, Nelson Bay, Anna Bay, Raymond Terrace and East Maitland—a great group of scouts. I was fortunate enough to visit East Maitland Scouts a little bit over 12 months ago. I had a fantastic night at East Maitland Scouts, talking to young people and participating in their activities. We even did a bit of cooking. It was really great. Kurri Kurri Scouts is just down the hill from where our Guide hall is in Kurri Kurri. I'd like to throw out a special mention to the Guide hall in Kurri Kurri. A really severe storm went through Kurri a few years ago, and the after-hours ambulance hall that was used for OOSH lost its roof. The Guides gave its hall for OOSH to use. That's community spirt. So keep Guiding, keep going to Scouts and keep making a contribution. (Time expired)

5:42 pm

Photo of Vince ConnellyVince Connelly (Stirling, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm so pleased to be surrounded by passionate community advocates—no less than the member for Paterson, an ex-Brownie, and the member for Ryan, an ex-Boy Scout. I wasn't a Boy Scout but my father was. His pioneering ways and the camps that he used to take me on, with his billy, his swag and his Scout songs, certainly inspired me. I did become an Army cadet—something a bit similar and certainly akin to fostering a spirit of adventurism and resilience. I think we can all agree that, if there are a couple of things that we want in our children, adventurism and resilience have to be right up there at the top of the list.

So I appreciate this opportunity to give a shout-out to Scouts Australia and Girl Guides Australia. Scouts Australia is 70,000 strong. It's part of a 40 million member worldwide organisation of the Scouts movement. This provides boys and girls aged five to 25 with fun and challenging opportunities to grow through adventure. Scouts Australia is also one of the largest youth development organisations in the whole country. Across the country, there are thousands of volunteer branch and section commissioners, leaders and supporters. Girl Guides Australia is the peak body for guiding in Australia, and is a not-for-profit organisation. It offers girls aged five to 17 years a unique girl-led experience in a safe, welcoming space with a variety of activities. The world association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has 10 million Girl Guides and Scouts from across 150 organisations.

In a normal year the bulk of funds moving into the scouts and guides come from fundraising, but in 2020 there have been some pretty big impacts on the ability to fundraise through things like the cookie drive and car washes, which I know some of my local scouts get into. All of these have been impacted by COVID. But also local, state and federal government funding forms a component of how we get behind and support scouts. I was delighted, in my own electorate of Stirling, to award $5,000 in this past financial year to the Tuart Hill Yokine Scout Group under the Volunteer Grants program. I was also delighted, last November, to have joined the Tuart Hill Yokine Scout Group for its 70th birthday celebration. It was a wonderful occasion.

Scouts Australia also has received JobKeeper this year, which has assisted with cash flow during what has been a very difficult financial year. Less obvious, but quite unfortunate, have been the restrictions on movement, which, as I mentioned, have impacted that fundraising. That's where it's been great to see again the resilience displayed by these organisations. We all know that facing adversity is par for the course for scouts and guides and they will emerge strongly in 2021.

We have also seen Scouts WA continue to provide their services and camps throughout 2020. That's provided a wonderful sense of normality for a lot of those kids who have been able to keep being involved in scouts. Also, Scouts WA has completed its new program, which successfully aims to be adventurous, fun, challenging and inclusive.

As we come towards the end of the year, I thank and congratulate all of the group leaders and section leaders in WA, and particularly of those in the scout groups in Stirling, at Amelia Heights, Dianella, Hamersley, Karrinyup, Tuart Hill Yokine, Scarborough Beach and North Beach, for instance. I also congratulate Ayden Mackenzie, who in July was invested as the Chief Commissioner of Scouts in WA. He is the youngest ever chief commissioner. I'm told he has a bold vision for the future.

Another person who has gone from strength to strength with the help of scouts is Caitlin Arcus. Caitlin led scouts during the COVID-19 pandemic as acting chief commissioner. Two years ago, aged just 26, Caitlyn was appointed the youngest ever deputy chief commissioner of Scouts WA.

Today I also recognise my good friend Warren Mickelson and his son Connor. I've watched Warren and Connor operate in scouts. Warren has also been really passionate in his leadership within the scouts. This sort of passion supports the kids to have the adventure and excitement that is so important for every child's development. To Ayden, Caitlin, Warren and so many others like them across the country, thank you for what you're doing. You are shining examples to our kids, helping to build that spirit of adventure and resilience.

5:47 pm

Photo of Brian MitchellBrian Mitchell (Lyons, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As a former cub scout and army cadet for a short time––scouts have been around for more than 100 years. The movement was first founded in the UK in 1907 by Lord Baden-Powell. Since then scouting has evolved into a worldwide movement of nearly 50 million young people and adult volunteers, and is welcoming to all genders. I must give a shout-out to my late mother. She was Baloo in my scout group. She did her bit.

Scouting provides young people, guided by adult volunteers, the opportunity to participate in programs, events, activities and projects that contribute to their growth as active citizens. As the member for Paterson pointed out, that's what it is about: it grows young kids into being really good citizens. Today Scouts Australia is a 70,000-strong organisation. It is part of the 40-million-member world organisation of the scout movement. Scouts Australia has a vision that by 2023 scouts will be the leading youth development movement in Australia, empowering 83,000 young people to be resilient, self-fulfilled, positive change-makers in their community.

Scouting first appeared in Tasmania in 1909, just two years after Lord Baden-Powell. We're first at everything! Within a year of the publication in Britain of Baden-Powell's Scouting for boys––it has been around for a long time––small groups of boys in Hobart, Devonport and Wynyard, each supported by an enthusiastic adult, undertook challenging activities like ambulance work and camp craft. When Baden-Powell first visited Tasmania in 1912, similar groups of scouts were functioning in other towns. For the next 50 years, senior British Scouting personnel came to the state to share ideas, offer advice and provide expert training for leaders.

In the early years, the movement in Tasmania received a modest annual grant from the state government. I'm not sure that they still do; I'm sure they'd welcome it. This was supplemented by income from the Scout Shop and a waste materials collection service, while groups raised money from fairs, dances and Euchre tournaments—a card game. By the mid-1920s, there were some 1,000 Scouts of all ranks in the state. Parent support groups began to appear and the movement enjoyed a lot of support from business, political and civic leaders. In December '33, the organisation was confident enough to stage one of the first national scouting youth events held in the state: a Scout corroboree at Lake Sorell, near my home town.

Membership of Scouting in Tasmania has always fluctuated. It reached a peak of about 5,000 in the early 1970s, but it's still going strong. It's quiet but strong. Early this month, the Joey Scouts celebrated 30 years in Tasmania, with birthday events at the botanical gardens in Hobart and Hollybank in Launceston. There were games, bushwalking and, of course, birthday cake. Scouts Tasmania held its annual Scout camping competition this month, the state-wide Clark Trophy, with 110 scouts and 55 leaders converging on Fulton Park to enjoy a weekend of fine weather and camping. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend, with Senator Anne Urquhart, a Tasmanian, the Tasmanian Scouts AGM, with President, Corey McGrath; Chief Commissioner, Michael Hovington; and Chief Scout of Tasmania, Kate Warner AC, our state's wonderful Governor. It was a joy to watch this community come together from all around the state and descend on Bridgewater, in the south of my electorate, after what has been a very challenging year, for a number of reasons, and celebrate their achievements.

I would particularly like to acknowledge life-member inductees, Maria Direen and Susan Hovington, and years of service awardees, Marion Blight, for 30 years of service, and Denice Walters, for 35 years of service to the organisation. Seeing them take to the podium with great pride after a lifetime of service was really something to see. Also, well done to Australian Scout Medallion awardees, Evan Eastman-Peck and Yumani Nevah, who are the next generation of young Scouts coming through and already they're leaders. The Australian Scout Medallion is the highest award in the Scout section and is achieved by only the top five per cent of Scouts in Australia, so it's a particularly great achievement by these young people. I take this opportunity to congratulate Scouts Australia, Girl Guides Australia, and the world organisation of the Scout movement for continuing to provide an outlet for children to channel their desire for adventure, education and fun and for providing ongoing assistance around our communities. Dib, dib, dib; dob, dob, dob!

5:52 pm

Photo of Phillip ThompsonPhillip Thompson (Herbert, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to start by apologising to the House for not being appropriately dressed. I haven't got my scarf on to talk about a very important issue today. I am a bit upset, but I'm sure the member for Lyons also regrets not having his scarf on. Local community groups and associations are the foundation of our society. As members of parliament, we regularly have the opportunity and privilege to be invited to be members of these groups or visit them to see what they do and how they do it. Such groups are the Scouts and Girl Guides. Just over a week ago, I had the honour to be invited to the Kirwan Scout Group to be, as they call it, 'scarfed up'. This was my first experience at a Scout meeting. After being greeted by my host, I was escorted to a parade to see 30 or so young men and women standing proudly at attention around a campfire and their flag pole. The parade was led by one of their peers who called on various leaders to address the meeting and keep everyone up-to-date on what was going on. Soon it was my turn to be called upon to be 'scarfed up'. I was humbled to receive this honour on behalf of the community I serve. I was welcomed into the Kirwan Scout family and issued an open invitation to attend any of their meetings and activities in the future, which is something I'm very grateful for and looking forward to. I was also presented with a scout name. I have a call sign: it's 'Goanna'. I'm pretty happy and excited about the call sign I've been given. As we know, it's a very prominent animal in the north, so I was very happy. I told my wife, and she thought it was hilarious. She thought I should have been named 'Koala Bear'!

An honourable member: I would have thought 'Wombat'!

The wombat was already taken! Despite her being upset, I think Goanna is a good name, and I now have my two-year-old daughter calling me Goanna. But there was one more job to do, and that was, as the newest member of this community, to add a log into the fire. The ashes from this log would be used next week, the week after and into the future and years to come in a tradition that symbolises the community of the group being a part of something that was bigger than any individual or person or group of people.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Kirwan Scout Group for welcoming me into their hearts. I was struck by their sense of service and their sense of community. These young men and women and their parents were a part of this movement to grow and develop not only their own skills and character but those of their scouting mates and to help others in the community. One of those lessons was being taught within minutes after being scarfed up. It was a very important ability—to cook a pizza over a fire.

Scouts and Girl Guides are critical for our local communities because they encourage young men and women to seek out adventure and to pursue their own dreams. They give them an opportunity to develop life skills and drive their sense of curiosity in a safe and rewarding environment.

One of the leaders of the Kirwan group is a senior local police sergeant. He's someone who has an extremely busy and important job, but he's an example of the kind of person who donates their spare time and energy to ensure their students have opportunities. He knows that the more kids he mentors the better his community will be in the future.

That's why I'm very happy to speak in support of this motion today. Scouts and Girl Guides across Australia have a membership of over 70,000. Worldwide, this number exceeds 40 million. I know that this year has been a difficult one for Scouts and Girl Guides, as it has been for so many other community groups. One of the things affected by COVID-19 are the regular fundraisers, including the famous cookie drives, so there has been a loss of regular income to keep all of their important programs running. But as restrictions ease and we start to get back to normality I'd like to see more fundraisers from these groups continuing to thrive and be able to go down to the local Bunnings, pick up a sausage and raise money for these groups, because they're so important for our future generations.

5:58 pm

Photo of Fiona PhillipsFiona Phillips (Gilmore, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to give a big shout-out to our Scouts and Guides groups on the New South Wales South Coast. Wherever I go I'm always thrilled and amazed to see Scouts and Guides out playing their part in the community—helping people in our community, giving back to others and importantly learning lifelong skills and making lifelong friends. These young people are our future, and the skills and experience they obtain with the Scouts and Guides will no doubt stay with them for life. I want to thank the many leaders who take the time to lead Scouts and Guides in my local community. It is a time-consuming role, but it is one that I can clearly see provides so much enjoyment for leaders in helping guide our young people.

A while ago I attended a local Remembrance Day service at St Georges Basin RSL subbranch. Afterwards we went to the Scout hall and had morning tea. I was delighted to see the 1st St Georges Basin Scout Group and their families out in action, providing tea, coffee and slices, but also, more importantly, bridging the gap between our veterans and learning from them. These activities might seem simple, but they are so important in today's world. Well done to all the Scouts who were involved.

I also had the pleasure of delivering a new flag to the North Nowra Girl Guides. Apart from delivering the flag I got an insight into the extremely busy and well-coordinated junior programs that they're running. The Guides welcomed me with open arms, and I was delighted to join with them. What struck me was the passion the guides showed with their carefully thought out activities, including groovy scientific experiments, spinning wheels and much more. Thanks for having me.

When I attended the Illawarra Rose Festival, held in Jamberoo, I was taken with the 1st Jamberoo Scout Group. They were diligently providing the hospitality—preparing morning and afternoon tea, expertly taking orders and delivering the tea and food with a smile. These young scouts were learning valuable skills, all under the watchful eye of their leaders. Well done to them all.

When I go to my local Relay For Life events, I always see our local Scouts groups out there, raising awareness about cancer prevention, fundraising to support cancer patients, providing support and, importantly, having a lot of fun dressing up, participating in fun events and walking laps through the night. They of course have their tents, and they are pretty good campers. It's all for a good cause, and it's fabulous to see young kids getting so involved from such a young age.

The New South Wales South Coast was hit hard during the bushfires, but our local Scouts and Girl Guides groups rose to the challenge of supporting their community. The 1st Batemans Bay Scout Group were very busy with their fire-recovery community service projects, including making wildlife feeding boxes and collecting donations. They were making new signs for the Australian Rainbow Vets and Allies mardi gras market day, as they lost all their decorations and signs in the recent fires. Then, on Australia Day this year, the inaugural 1st Batemans Bay Scout Group versus Emergency Services Australia Day Tug of War Challenge was held, and a great day was had by all. It's an important event which really highlights the community coming together and the importance of groups like Scouts and our emergency services working together—so special, and another amazing example of how our community has pulled together through these tough times.

That's the sort of passion we should be proud of, and I say a huge thank you to all our scouts and guides and their leaders for all they do. I want to recognise those groups today. It's a bit of a long list. The Scouts groups are: 1st St Georges Basin Scout Group, 1st Nowra Scout Group, 1st Bomaderry Scout Group, 1st Kangaroo Valley Scout Group, 1st Burrill-Ulladulla Scout Group, 1st Illaroo Scout Group, Shoalhaven Rover Crew, 1st Jamberoo Scout Group, 1st Kiama Scout Group, 1st Batemans Bay Scout Group and 1st Moruya Scout Group. The Girl Guides groups are: Huskisson Bay Guides, Huskisson Bay Ranger Guides, Huskisson Gumnut Guides, Huskisson Junior Guides, Kiama Flametree Guides, Kiama Seashells Junior Guides, North Nowra Guides, North Nowra Junior Guides, North Nowra Pre Junior Guides, Nowra Guides, Nowra Junior Guides, Sussex Inlet Black Swan Guides and Moruya Swan Girl Guides.

Thank you to all our scouts, guides and leaders. You are absolute champions.

6:03 pm

Photo of Nicolle FlintNicolle Flint (Boothby, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Longman for his motion, and I would also like to note my appreciation and support for Scouts and Girl Guides associations across Australia and particularly within my electorate of Boothby. These wonderful groups provide young girls and boys and young men and women with a range of life skills while they participate in supporting their local communities as active volunteers. We know the past year has had a big impact on Scouts and Girl Guides activities, as restrictions imposed on community groups have prevented many of the typical activities they would usually undertake—like fundraising, for example, and helping out in their communities—but they have managed to continue a lot of the activities by getting creative through online meetings.

In Boothby our Scouts groups include: 2nd Adelaide Scout Group, based in Mitcham, Ascot Park Scout Group, Belair Scout Group, Black Forest Scout Group, Blackwood Scout Group, Darlington Scout Group, Eden Hills Scout Group, Hawthorn Scout Group and Somerton Park Sea Scout Group. Our Girl Guides groups include: Bel Air Girl Guides, Colonel Light Gardens Girl Guides and Dover Girl Guides. I have had a wonderful relationship with my scouts and guides over the years, as their federal MP, visiting them during their meetings, attending significant anniversaries to help them celebrate and helping them to secure funding for important upgrades.

Last year, for example, I was very fortunate to attend the 110th birthday of the 2nd Adelaide Scout Group in Mitcham which I'm proud to note is the oldest continuously operating Scout group in South Australia. The celebrations were attended by the Chief Commissioner of Scouts SA, Harry Long; Scout group leader, Natalie Steward who celebrated 10 years in the role; committee chairman, Andrew Hill; Scout leader David Lawlor; and the MC for the day and local scouting legend Alex Brown who spoke beautifully about the confidence and skills scouting provides to young people. A large number of current and former Scouts and special guests also helped us to celebrate this milestone. The occasion was marked with a presentation of artefacts for storage in a brand-new time capsule as well as some wonderful singing led by the Joey Scouts.

Over my time in parliament I have also spent a lot of time with the Belair Girl Guides. Their leader, Jan Childs, is one of our most dedicated community volunteers and she has worked tirelessly to empower and teach young girls and young women a range of skills and what it is to be a true community volunteer. Jan had been working for many, many years to secure funding to upgrade their kitchen which was originally built in the 1950s. I was delighted to help secure a grant for the Belair Girl Guides to finally upgrade the kitchen, and I was excited to recently visit them to see their wonderful new facilities that supported a range of local tradies during this the most difficult of years.

I was also delighted to be able to secure a grant for the Eden Hills Scout Group at Karinya Reserve. In 2019 the federal government committed to helping to fund the Eden Hills Scout Group to construct a brand new hall—and I think the existing hall is probably about the same age as the Belair Girl Guides' kitchen was. Through the new development, group leader, Jeff Wheaton, his leaders and their members will finally have a functional hall which is long overdue, given its age and its range of challenges, which include the fact that the hall is springing leaks. It requires new flooring and wiring, and is worse for wear following years battling white ants. The new hall will have a range of features, including a new kitchen and sufficient storage for the group's outdoor equipment and camping gear, including undercover storage for their trailers on site.

This hall will provide the Eden Hills Scout Group with the ability for their members to prepack for camps onsite as part of their program. I know Jeff and his team are so excited about this particular feature, because at the moment their trailers are stored outdoors around the community on the properties of some very generous parents. The new hall will also provide the group with increased flexibility with a range of new activity spaces and will mean that other community groups can use this fabulous new community asset.

The federal government has also assisted the Darlington Scout Group to secure a grant to assist with replacing and levelling their flooring to provide a much safer experience for the Scouts. They have also been able to line and insulate their roof, which will make all of their members comfortable no matter the weather—and we've just had a few days of 40 degrees already in Adelaide, so I'm sure they'll appreciate it this year. I wish I had time to mention every single Scout and Girl Guide group in my area, but in closing I want to thank them and congratulate them for all they do, especially in this most difficult of years.

6:08 pm

Photo of Helen HainesHelen Haines (Indi, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I'd like to recognise the incredible work of the many young people and adults involved in Scouts and Girl Guides across Indi. Indi is home to 16 Scout and 11 Girl Guide groups, stretching from Yea to the Indigo Valley and Corryong. These form a part of the 17,000 youth members and 5,000 adult volunteers involved in scouting programs across Victoria, which form part of an even larger story.

Girl Guides Victoria is connected to more than 10 million members in over 150 countries. Over 500 million people worldwide have participated in scouting programs. More than a billion people have been through the global scouting movement in the last 110 years. Scouts has stood the test of time in part because it speaks to the universal values that are as relevant today as they were a century ago.

Scouts Australia is about supporting individuals to develop a sense of personal identity and self-worth; the belief that young people are able and willing to take responsibility and contribute to society; and the importance of mutual support and help between members of a community to maximise quality of life for all.

Girl Guides, the sister organisation of Scouts, also has lessons relevant for all young women in today's world. Back in 1909, at the formation of what was then the Boy Scouts, a small group of girls insisted that they wanted to be Scouts too. At the time, the idea of girls getting their hands dirty in outdoor activities like camping and hiking was seen as radical—a bit like a woman joining parliament! According to the Girl Guides' official history, the idea was denounced as a 'mischievous new development', a 'foolish and pernicious movement' and an 'idiotic sport'. But those girls won, and in 1910 the Girl Guides was established. Today it is one of the largest all-female organisations in the world. Girl Guides is about building confidence, self-reliance, team-building and leadership. I think all of us—men and women, boys and girls—can take inspiration from that early example of the first Girl Guides. I know that this year has been a tough one for all the Scouting groups in Victoria. Because of the restrictions, there were no in-person Guiding activities during terms 2 and 3, and only now are groups able to start meeting again in small gatherings and tentatively planning for a better 2021.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to celebrate the recently completed upgrade of the Baranduda Memorial Hall, home to the 1st Baranduda Scouts Group. Group leader Brendan Greaves leads a vibrant group of young people in the fast-growing Baranduda area near Wodonga. The upgraded hall, originally built in 1955, now has new insulation, new floors, two office spaces, a kitchen and bathrooms. Importantly, the upgrade also includes accessibility improvements, with a disabled shower and toilet and a ramp going out the front of the hall. I wish the 1st Baranduda Scouts Group all the best for a much brighter 2021 in your new facility, and I look forward to visiting you all there. And I congratulate all young people involved in Scouts and Guides right across Indi. The skills you develop, the lessons you learn through Scouting, will stay with you for a lifetime, and there is no better way to get out and enjoy the beautiful setting of north-east Victoria than to get out with your Scouts or Girl Guides group and have a camp. Best of luck, and, now that we can start to meet face to face again, I look forward to getting out there and visiting you right across Indi into the New Year.

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There being no further speakers, the debate is adjourned. The resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.