Senate debates

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Christmas Lights Record, SIDS and Kids ACT

7:09 pm

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It is my great pleasure this evening to draw to the attention of the Senate a wonderful achievement by the Richards family here in the ACT. Their Christmas lights display has set an official Guinness World Record for the most Christmas lights on a residential property. David and Jenean and their three children—Aidan, Caitlin and Madelyn—have installed 502,165 lights at their home, smashing the previous record of 346,283 held by a family in the United States. The Richards family held the record previously when they installed just over 330,000 lights in 2011. That was beaten by the Americans and the Richards family have come back and smashed the record this year. It took them a month to set up the 48 kilometres worth of wiring, with the help of family and friends, and the result is truly spectacular.

This achievement is a testament to the great community spirit here in the ACT. There are few things as admirable as people who, of their own initiative, take up a simple and worthwhile challenge for no material or financial gain—rather they do it to spread joy and foster a sense of belonging. I note that this project was not the result of government; it was the result of a family doing what they wanted to do to serve their community. The Richards family are just one of many families in the ACT who undertake this kind of thing and who give of themselves. It is people like David and Jenean who exemplify that community spirit.

Not only do I commend and congratulate the Richards family for spreading Christmas cheer and achieving a world record, I also note their deep commitment to serving the community by giving the proceeds of their lights display to raise money for SIDS and Kids ACT. Mr and Mrs Richards have told how they endured the tragedy of losing a child to sudden infant death syndrome and have dedicated themselves to helping others who have gone through such unspeakable loss. I would like to honour their character and resolve in choosing to be so generous with their time and talents in raising money for this cause.

Last time around the Richards raised $78,000 for SIDS and Kids ACT and this year they are hoping to raise over $100,000. I hope that drawing the Senate's attention to their achievement will help them along the way to that goal. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate and also members of the House of Representatives in the next week and a half while you are here in Canberra—and others in the Canberra region right up until Christmas—to make the trip to Tennyson Crescent in Forrest. It is truly a spectacular display. It is something that inspires us to something greater. If people can go there and enjoy this world record lights display and also make a donation to a very worthy cause then I am sure that not just the Richards family would be very grateful but SIDS and Kids ACT, in particular, would be very grateful.