House debates

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Forde Electorate: Australia Day Awards, Rotary Australia and New Zealand: 100 Years of Service

10:03 am

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

One of the great things about Australia Day is the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those people in our community who are doing wonderful and amazing things. It was my privilege to spend Australia Day meeting a variety of people across the electorate of Forde who give their time and energy for the benefit of others. It was a very special day for the City of Logan at their Australia Day awards ceremony, and I want to extend my congratulations to the following award winners: Anita Anderson, who won the Citizen of the Year award; Julia Thottunkal, who won the Young Citizen of the Year award; and Robert Haberle and Takisha Lyons, who both won the Spirit of Logan awards. Anita founded the Springwood charity A Touch of Hope, which provides food, clothing and household items for those in need. Julia volunteers with many organisations, including the Asthma Foundation, the Queensland Cancer Council, the Smith Foundation and others. Takisha is the co-founder of Diversity with Dance, which has developed inclusive dance programs for our migrant communities. Robert works with Be an Elf Charity, which provides gifts for vulnerable youth at Christmas Day and other times throughout the year.

I also had the pleasure on Australia Day of joining the Rotary Clubs of Beenleigh, Logan and Loganholme to help them commemorate Rotary in Australia and New Zealand's 100 years of service. Rotary serves many communities here and overseas. The current campaign, 'Don't Throw in the Towel,' deserves special mention because it benefits three causes at once: the environment, animals and people in need. The campaign saves end-of-life hospitality towels from going to landfill by donating them to vet clinics, homeless organisations and other community groups. This is one of many great initiatives. However, in my view Rotary's greatest initiative remains its PolioPlus program, a program with the worldwide goal of getting rid of polio. I want to commend Rotary for all their hard work and wish them well in their centenary year.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to Gary Aldridge who lives in Bethania. Mr Aldridge was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his service to war veterans and their families. He joined the Navy in 1959 and served in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Borneo and Malaysia for nine years. Since leaving the Navy he has spent his life fighting for the rights of veterans and until recently he was the Greenbank RSL Sub-Branch president. Mr Aldridge's sacrifice is not only confined to his RSL work; he's been fighting a significant health crisis, throat cancer, over the past three years as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. Our communities are far richer for the care and support we give each other, and it's these amazing people and many others across our communities that make them what they are.