AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(16:44:38): I move:

 

That this council—

1.Notes that—

 

(a)2014 is the centenary year of the Red Cross in Australia, a substantial milestone in the social history of the nation and commemorates 100 years of humanitarian service to the people of Australia;

 

(b)Many Australians have shared a personal connection with the Red Cross, from its humanitarian role during two world wars, to preparing for, responding to and recovering from natural disasters, or helping vulnerable people and communities overcome disadvantage, and through its world-class national blood service;

 

(c)For 100 years the Australian Red Cross has enjoyed a unique auxiliary status to the public authorities in the humanitarian field, working in partnership with governments of diverse political persuasions, in Australia and internationally, to alleviate suffering in a voluntary aid capacity whilst adhering to its principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality; and

 

(d)The Australian Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian movement, with millions of volunteers working in over 100 countries, united by the fundamental principle of preventing and alleviating human suffering, without discrimination, wherever it may be found in times of war, conflict, disaster or personal crisis.

 

2.Calls on all honourable members of this council to join the Australian Red Cross in celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding on 13 August 1914, nine days after the outbreak of World War I.

On 13 August 1914, nine days after the outbreak of World War I, the Australian Red Cross was founded. Its independent, neutral and impartial humanitarian mission was to work with and assist the most vulnerable people in need, not only in Australia but across the world, a mission which the Red Cross has continued for over 100 years.

 

I would initially like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the initiative of the hardworking new member for Hartley, Mr Vincent Tarzia, who was responsible for bringing this milestone to the attention of the parliament and in doing the work to prepare a similar motion which he will be moving in another place. The member for Hartley has only recently been elected to the House of Assembly but it is pleasing to see that he has already made valuable connections within the community. When he was asked to bring this matter to our party and to the parliament, he agreed to that. Like many in this chamber, including myself, he is highly supportive of the Red Cross's strong commitment to those in need, regardless of circumstances, race, gender, religion or any other matter that might be a cause of some discrimination.

 

In many ways, the motion is a lengthy one but it actually does, I think, describe the manner in which the Red Cross is regarded not only in this country but around the world. At the time of its establishment the positive reaction was so great that hundreds of thousands of volunteers signed up to help further the good work that the Red Cross is now renowned worldwide for. The establishment of the Australian Red Cross and the subsequent groundswell of volunteers who carry out its good work has demonstrated to the Australian community the power of humanity to deliver often lifesaving outcomes to those in need.

 

I know that other members in this parliament have indicated their strong knowledge of the role of Red Cross in the community, whether it be in country communities or in metropolitan areas or working overseas. I know the Hon. Mr Ridgway has expressed his strong support for the motion.

 

By the time World War II began in 1939, the Red Cross was Australia's largest charitable organisation. Today, it is stronger than ever, with more than one million volunteers, donors, members and staff making a difference for those in need right across Australia. In fact, the organisation now cares for tens of millions of individuals in need across the country and the Asia-Pacific region.

 

My involvement with the Red Cross has particularly related to my 15 years of donating blood and, more recently, plasma with the Red Cross Blood Service. Not to say that I had not been aware of the efforts of Red Cross branches around South Australia and the money they have raised for excellent causes that help people around the world in poorer circumstances, but my greater involvement has been as a blood donor. While other members of my family, and particularly my wife, had given blood in the past, I had not done so until I came to this place. I remember the Hon. Mr Gilfillan had a bit of a recruiting drive in this place. Along with the member for Croydon, he went to the blood service, but neither of them actually gave any blood that day: they laid on the bed and looked at me while I gave blood.

 

I have certainly been giving blood since then, and a few years ago my previous staff member, Mr Todd Hacking, and I ran a bit of a recruiting campaign in the parliament; we have not been overrun with donors, but I know that a number of people who work in this building do quietly give blood and blood products. I encourage more to do so.

 

The Red Cross runs a number of events, and it is involved in many not only to raise awareness of its work but also to raise funds. I understand that upcoming events include the Colour Run, on Sunday 14 September, and the Adelaide City to Bay, on Sunday 21 September.

 

There are a number of ways to celebrate the centenary of the Australian Red Cross, and I encourage interested members to visit the Red Cross website to find information on how to be involved and especially on how they can volunteer. I congratulate the Australian Red Cross on a century of people helping people, and I hope that this continues for at least a century more.

 

To the volunteers of Red Cross, not only here in South Australia but across the world, I congratulate you on your contribution and efforts to the Red Cross' mission to help those who are not as well off as many of us—those who are in great need at a particular time because of a natural disaster or because of other world events that mean there is a real need for a well-regarded independent body that has worked with governments of diverse backgrounds right across the world to deliver those services. With those few words, I commend the motion to the council.

 

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. J.M. Gazzola.