House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Constituency Statements

Menzies Electorate: Volunteers

9:48 am

Photo of Keith WolahanKeith Wolahan (Menzies, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Sometimes the things that we do in our electorate and the things that we do here have a connection that we didn't realise. There are two that have connected for me. The first was a Pink Stumps Day by the Warrandyte Cricket Club. It's an event put on in support of the McGrath Foundation and their support for women with breast cancer. When I walked into that room, it was a sea of pink—pink balloons, women dressed in pink. I want to congratulate the wonderful women who put that on and thank you for all that you do. To the speakers, many of whom are suffering from breast cancer themselves or have family and friends who are suffering from breast cancer: you are nothing short of inspiring. It was a fantastic event.

Then, at the International Women's Day Breakfast, an event put on by Sarah Cullens and her team, there was a panel with Major General Ana Duncan, Senator Hume and Clare O'Neil. All three women spoke about resilience, and Major General Duncan said something that made me think about that event at the Warrandyte Cricket Club. From her dealings at Defence for the support to Operation COVID-19 Assist and the bushfires, she made the observation that, where communities have strong volunteerism, they're more resilient. I think that's a really important thing for us to think about.

When I think of that football club and what they do, coming together, that is a resilient community. And they're resilient not just through their sporting clubs but through the four CFAs: North Warrandyte, Warrandyte, South Warrandyte and Wonga Park. But there are so many other volunteer groups that make my community resilient. Groups like CareNet; Manningham Toy Library; Doncare; SES Manningham, who have celebrated a significant anniversary; the Rotary clubs; the Lions clubs; the Cubs and the Scouts: all of you make our community more special.

When I speak at citizenship ceremonies, we talk about the rights and obligations that come with being citizens, but there are wonderful opportunities that come with being a citizen, and there's no better opportunity than joining a volunteer organisation and giving back to your community, because you will benefit from it, our community will benefit from it and as a society we will be stronger and more resilient. We need more of that now more than ever. I had a briefing from the Edelman Trust Barometer, and they noted that we feel like we're more divided than we were, and part of that is emanating from the rhetoric in this place. I think we can rise above that. But I think volunteer groups do the best job of connecting us as a community, and I congratulate and thank them.