WHITE RIBBON DAY

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(15:28:52): I rise today to speak about a number of events that I have attended recently to celebrate White Ribbon, and the campaign to stop violence against women. First, on the evening of 20 November I was pleased to join the member for Mount Gambier, Mr Troy Bell, at a special event in the Mount Gambier Town Hall and to speak during that evening. It was a terrific event encompassing people from all across the Mount Gambier and Limestone Coast community, and particularly across age ranges. I think we were entertained by young people from the three secondary schools in that city.

I give great credit to the 13 local White Ribbon ambassadors, who also played a significant role in organising several other events around the campaign to stop violence against women, particularly through the White Ribbon organisation. I was very pleased to see the new Mayor of Mount Gambier, Mr Andrew Lee, at that event.

I was also pleased to be aware that this year on White Ribbon Day, as well as the major breakfast in Adelaide which I will speak about in a moment, many regional centres in South Australia held their own events, whether it be breakfasts or walks or whatever, and also that a number of my lower house colleagues from regional areas were involved in those events, even swearing the White Ribbon oath.

On 23 November, I was pleased to participate in the Soroptimist International South Australia Walk the Talk Community Walk, Stop Violence Against Women. On that occasion, the Hon. Mr Kandelaars, the Hon. Ms Vincent and the member for Ashford from another place helped me in providing parliamentary support for something that is growing in support amongst the range of events around the White Ribbon campaign.

The biggest event on the program in South Australia, and I am told in the whole country, is the Adelaide White Ribbon breakfast. This year it was moved to the Convention Centre and was attended by over 700 people. There were many members of both houses of this parliament there, including the Hon. Mr Kandelaars, and the Hon. Mr Maher had the privilege of speaking to us. It was a great event.

I think we have come a long way in the fact that the White Ribbon campaign, of which I am proud to have been an ambassador for some eight years (I think it is), was very much driven, as the Hon. Mr Gazzola would know, by women's organisations such as Zonta and Soroptimists. It is pleasing now to see so many men taking leadership roles and I am delighted that Mr Paul Edginton of the Service to Youth Council has taken on the role of South Australian chair of the White Ribbon committee.

I am also very pleased to learn that across this country there is now a waiting list for men who have been nominated to be ambassadors. Unlike when the Hon. Mr Gazzola and I rolled in, we were just accepted, now they have to go through an interview process. The Hon. Mr Gazzola and certainly I might struggle with the interview process. I think it is a wonderful thing. It is also terrific to see the number of younger people getting involved in the White Ribbon campaign. The more younger men who we get involved who can provide a role model and an example for their own colleagues is something to be commended.

The absolute message is that we must never encourage anybody to not say something about domestic violence that they are aware of. I commend the White Ribbon organisation for all the events that have been held in South Australia in the last week or so.