House debates

Thursday, 4 February 2021


City of Stirling: Australia Day

4:46 pm

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

Australia Day is a moment, a day, when we stop and we reflect on our shared history and we look forward into the future for our shared vision of Australia's future. This Australia Day, again, I joined the City of Stirling for their citizenship ceremony and the citizenship awards presentation. I'd like to thank Mayor Mark Irwin; and CEO Stuart Jardine, who was surprisingly dressed down for the occasion—he had a suit on but no tie; none of us had ever seen him like that; he must have been going to the beach afterwards, I suppose, it being Australia Day—and also the Stirling Lions, who put on breakfast for everyone.

Every year I'm blown away by some of the stories we hear of these award winners. Let me touch on them now. The Community Citizen of the Year award winner is Gary Hale. Gary has dedicated a significant portion of his life to community sports, including Marist Auskick and the Raiders basketball club. Most notably, through his hard work and determination, Gary built the Woodlands softball club from 15 members to 200 members, and the club now boasts 17 teams and has players at both state and national level. All this has been achieved by Gary whilst he has also been working full-time.

The Senior Community Citizen of the Year is Kaye Liddelow. Kaye is a long-time community advocate for groups right throughout the northern suburbs. She has been a fixture in groups including the Mirrabooka community choir, Illawarra Primary School board and the northern suburbs reconciliation action group. In 1985, Kaye helped form the Balga Action Group to reduce crime in the area, and this group has remained instrumental in the urban renewal of the area over subsequent decades. A retired career teacher, Kaye is also a member of the Teacher Flying Squad, which fills vacancies in teaching in schools in regional, remote and rural areas at very short notice.

The Young Community Citizen of the Year winner is Akash Parekh. Akash is an active and a passionate young member of our local community. He's involved in the Stirling Youth Advocates and has key roles in the State Park Festival at Carine, and the Chills with the Stirling Youth Advocates panel discussion. Akash's civic duty extends to mentoring at his local school and volunteering at Scitech Science Centre.

The Active Citizenship Award winner is the Good Chat Foundation. Founded by Kelly Bergsma, the Good Chat Foundation aims to improve community mental health and youth therapy outcomes through community sport. Through local clubs and teams, young people are provided with mentorship and guidance to assist them with their mental health challenges.

As citizens of Australia, we share a belief in parliamentary democracy, in the rule of law, in living peacefully and in respect for all. We also believe in the importance of giving back—giving back to our local communities, our neighbours, everyone who is in need. So, in addition to the award winners above, I want to acknowledge that there are a great deal of Western Australians right now displaying these very qualities, as our state deals both with bushfires to the north-east of the metropolitan area and with a COVID lockdown which is still underway. So I take this opportunity to particularly thank the firefighters, SES personnel and other emergency services responders, many of whom are volunteers, for their unwavering dedication to their fellow Western Australians. Their sacrifice has saved lives, saved homes and saved livelihoods. Our thoughts are with them as they are with those in our community who have lost their homes to the fires, and we remember that when there's an emergency in a state or territory in Australia it is also an emergency in Australia, so it's wonderful to see defence assets moved from one side of the country right to the other to assist in battling these bushfires.

I thank also Western Australians in the Peel, Metropolitan and South-West regions for doing the right thing in lockdown. Because of your efforts, we've now gone four days with zero cases of further community transmission. It's an outstanding effort and another great example of Australians looking after their neighbours, their mates and their country folk as well.

I'd like to finish on a message of hope, to reiterate what we've heard from the Minister for Health today in a briefing from the Therapeutic Goods Administration this morning, which is that there are about 140 million doses that are locked and loaded and ready for delivery to Australians to help vaccinate us against coronavirus. We can have confidence in the TGA's assessment process, and by vaccinating ourselves we help also each other in the way that all Australians do.