Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 December 2017


International Volunteer Day

3:58 pm

Photo of David BushbyDavid Bushby (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senators Fierravanti-Wells, Pratt and Moore, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  (i) on 5 December 2017, the world will observe International Volunteer Day, an opportunity for Australia to thank all our volunteers—past and present, both in Australia and overseas—for their selfless contributions to worthy causes, including Australia's aid program,

  (ii) the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (the global plan to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change) explicitly recognises volunteer groups as stakeholders to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

  (iii) this year's theme for International Volunteer Day, 'Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere', is a reflection of how volunteers around the world are responding in times of crisis and supporting longer-term social and economic development, at home and abroad,

  (iv) Australia has a long and proud history of volunteering, with the 2016 Census revealing that around 3.6 million Australian volunteers give their time to support local and regional communities and those in need overseas—since 1951, when our first international volunteers went to Indonesia, successive Australian Governments have supported more than 14 000 Australians to volunteer through Australia's aid program,

  (v) the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper recognises the importance of Australian volunteers creating links between communities and people in our region—advancing Australia's reputation overseas,

  (vi) each year, through the Government's flagship Australian Volunteers Program, over 1,000 Australians offer their time and skills to volunteer in developing countries—through this program, skilled Australian volunteers share their knowledge with people and organisations in about 25 developing countries by contributing to global economic growth and poverty reduction, and Australian volunteers are helping make our region more stable, secure and prosperous,

  (vii) by helping our neighbours to be healthier, well-educated and able to make a meaningful contribution to the economy, support for Australian volunteers across successive governments ensures less reliance on aid in the future, and

  (viii) Australian volunteers give a lot to their host communities but they also receive a lot in return—Australian volunteers increase their understanding of our region and bring new knowledge, skills and relationships back to Australia—these life-long personal and professional relationships are building strength and diversity in Australia's connections to the world; and

(b) recognises:

  (i) United Nations (UN) resolution, Integrating volunteering into peace and development: the plan of action for the next decade and beyond, adopted in November 2015 by consensus by the UN General Assembly, which recognises that volunteering can be a powerful means of implementation for the SDGs,

  (ii) that, through Australia's aid program, Australian volunteers play a valuable part in contributing to regional development and stability, and

  (iii) the strong commitment from Australian volunteers, business, government and non-government organisations to support volunteers to share our culture, our values and our multicultural way of life with the world.

Question agreed to.