Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (10:27): I would like to thank the member for Griffith for this motion. I thought her speech was great and I agree with what she was saying. I would also like to thank the member for Gilmore and the member for Shortland for their contributions.
As one of my past colleagues Queensland Senator Brett Mason once said in the other place, to volunteer is to serve. But, of course, not all those who serve are volunteers.
As members of parliament we serve, but we are not volunteers. Our gallant Defence Force personnel, police officers, ambulance officers and firefighters all serve as well and are exceptional community leaders. Religious leaders also serve, but they are not always volunteers either.
To offer service through volunteering is something indeed very special. Volunteers make a commitment to a cause, person or group of people that they are not required to make. There is no obligation for people to volunteer, yet people do volunteer and do it with much passion, enthusiasm and often love.
The 11th to 17 May this year was National Volunteer Week, and around the nation we celebrated the fact that six million Australians volunteer and make Australia one of the happiest places on earth to live. The theme this year was ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’ to highlight the fact that volunteers not only help make other people’s lives happier but are often happier as a result of their service. Throughout my time as the federal member for Petrie I have definitely met a lot of happy volunteers, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of them in my electorate for the very real difference they make to our nation and our local community.
Just the other day I was at a local citizenship ceremony and I met a young lady named Emily, and her parents, who had received Australian citizenship. I would like to quickly speak about Emily and her friends, who live in North Lakes. They are an incredible bunch of young children. Emily Sherratt goes to The Lakes College. She is ten, and her friends from North Lakes State School, Alijah and Ethan McDougall, are around the same age. Yet, between them, they have participated in more than 50 volunteering activities, many of which are ongoing.
To list a few: they participate in Clean up Australia Day and encouraged others to participate; they fundraise for the Red Cross Door Knock Appeal; they collected more than $600 in toiletries and made more than 200 biscuits for the Brisbane Youth Service ‘Get Schmick’ campaign during Youth Week; and last year they raised more than $1,000 for Angel flight by running 14 kilometres in the City to South Fun Run, and they are planning to participate in the Bridge to Brisbane Fun Run this year. I honestly have no idea how they manage to fit this into their busy schedule of school and everything else they do.
I think these young local volunteers deserve our recognition. And, of course, thank you to their parents, who tell me they are constantly driving Emily, Alijah and Ethan from one activity to the next, and they have probably baked more cookies than most of us have in our lifetimes. My electorate is home to thousands of community organisations and thousands of volunteers and we cannot thank them enough for the time and energy they put into making our community a safe and happy one.
The compassion volunteers show to the people they serve is an inspiration to us all. For that, we thank them.