Parliament Speeches

what's happening / speeches / Rotary Club of Sydney Centenary

Rotary Club of Sydney Centenary

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-117520

Hansard session: Fifty-Seventh Parliament, First Session (57-1)

Rotary Club of Sydney Centenary

Debate resumed from 6 May 2021.

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (12:09:27):

As I mentioned a week ago, Rotary has a number of programs that are developing the next generation of leaders and providing funding to make the world a better place. Those projects and programs include the Rotary Peace Fellowship and community corps. Certainly a lot of young people in my electorate have participated in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and the youth exchanges. In my electorate there are many Rotary clubs. For example, the Rotary Club of Hurstville, of which my wife is a member, meets at Mortdale. I also acknowledge Janice Hall, who was the district governor nominee and now incoming governor. Her inspirational women's awards for 2021 were launched in this place only a week ago. Rotary does a great job in every local community, including mine. I acknowledge Rotarians both here and across New South Wales, Australia and the world.

Mr RAY WILLIAMS (Castle Hill) (12:10:37

): First of all I acknowledge the centenary anniversary of Rotary in Australia. I congratulate all the various Rotary clubs and the many Rotarians who have given up so many hours of their lives to raise funds on behalf of important issues, not least the eradication of polio worldwide. If I remember correctly back to the last Rotary event that I attended, I think the problem with polio persists in only one country in the world, although it was envisaged that over the next year or so that it would be completely eradicated. I certainly hope that is the case. I also acknowledge the mover of the motion, the member for Heathcote, for bringing it to the House. As members of Parliament we have many Rotary clubs within our electorates that undertake fabulous commitments to their community over a commitment to self.

It was my absolute pleasure to receive a Paul Harris Fellow award in 2019 from my Rotary club in Castle Hill. I acknowledge that club, the work it does and its president, Mike Blair. I thank it once again. Receiving an award named after the founder of Rotary worldwide was a humbling experience. I am also a Rotary honorary member at Dural and have been since 2007. That club undertakes many regular Bunnings barbecues to raise important funding on behalf of various charitable events and organisations. I acknowledge its president, George Truelove, and the many members of Dural Rotary. I always love to attend one of the Dural Country Club's many and varied functions or dinner nights because they are always enjoyable occasions.

Hills‑Kellyville Rotary organises one of the most outstanding events—The Hills garden competition. The Hills area is known as the garden shire and is notable for the many gorgeous gardens that pervade that particular area and certainly across my electorate. Each and every year we see some outstanding exhibitions of gardens acknowledged and awarded. I acknowledge its president, John Van Der Burg, its long‑serving secretary, Wilf Van Emmerik, and its membership director, John Collignon. Some of those members have had a bit of ill health in the last while, so we wish them all the best. I am also an honorary member of the Norwest Sunrise (Bella Vista) Rotary, as it is now called. It was originally named the Norwest Rotary. It, too, applies itself to the task of raising money on behalf of charitable events. I acknowledge its board members: Alex Hezari, Bev Jordan, Mercedes Durante, Gary West, Cherlyn Suzuki, Robert Bredlin, Dennis Riva, Martin Collins and Jeremy Carter.

Glenhaven Rotary is another wonderful club in my area. I acknowledge president Annie Bradley and board members Jan Duffy, Helen Games, Barry Philps, Vino Dullab, Annette Waterson, Jo Norton, Barry Wailes and Marie Campion. Finally, Kenthurst Rotary is an outstanding club. The many great people there include president Michael O'Connor, Victoria Burakowski, Chris Redman, Chris Gaskin, Kathy Bray, Paul Rapp, Tony Goode, Phil Bishop, Peter Bray and Todd Melrose. They look after Kenthurst Rotary Park and, amongst other things, hold wonderful events for the Orange Blossom Festival, Anzac Day and Australia Day. I acknowledge all those wonderful Rotarians and Rotary clubs. I wish them the best and a happy anniversary in the 100th year of Rotary.

Mr JUSTIN CLANCY (Albury) (12:15:21):

By leave: I welcome the opportunity to speak to the motion moved by the member for Heathcote. I congratulate the Rotary Club of Sydney on its centenary. It was the first Rotary club in Australia. In that sense we are celebrating the Rotary Club of Sydney, but we are also celebrating 100 years of Rotary throughout this nation. The third point in the motion of the member for Heathcote recognises "the humanitarian … projects that Rotary does to improve people's lives in Australia and around the world". That very much speaks to the motto of "service above self". For me, part of being a Rotarian is about the larger scale. We have projects such as the eradication of polio. Over a number of years Rotary, in conjunction with collaborators, has made a significant dent on that disease across the globe, to the point where it is now identified in just a few countries around the subcontinent. It is a massive effort and testament to the global power of Rotary.

But what we can do locally and the projects that happen at the local level are more important. Rotarians talk about having a "Rotary moment". As an assistant governor in former days of district 9790, I had a number of opportunities to have those Rotary moments. Once I had a conversation with a Rotarian at a meeting in Victoria. They were talking about how their Rotary club was working with villages in poorer socio‑economic areas to provide proper effluent treatment. From that they were able to harness gas. That gas was used for cooking, which in turn led to less fires within dwellings which, in the end, also reduced eye diseases. Seeing multiple benefits from just one project is an absolute Rotary moment.

Another really important Rotary moment for me—and one in my own patch—that I am proud of the Tumbarumba community for is the Rotary Club of Tumbarumba's efforts with its Tumbarumba to Kokoda trek. People such as Grant Harris and Bruce Wright have been doing this for a number of years. They prepare young high school students over a number of months and then take them on the Kokoda Track, which is a life‑forming experience for them. So many of them return imbued with values, particularly around leadership, and a willingness to contribute further in their own community. We see this time and again on other occasions when we are there for Tumba trek. It is a fantastic project and one of which the Rotary Club of Tumbarumba should be justifiably proud.

Back home in Albury, just the other week I attended the Nail Can Hill Run, which is an iconic event in Albury. It has been hosted for a number of years now by the West Albury Rotary Club. As I travelled to that event I drove past another Rotary club that was doing the Sunday markets. The story of Rotary is the Rotary moments that occur time and again. There are so many Rotary clubs and so many people making an effort. My own club had a project to fund a preschool in Kitenden in Africa, again helping people in need. I congratulate the Rotary Club of Sydney on its centenary and give a big shout‑out to all members of Rotary throughout this nation.

Mr GURMESH SINGH (Coffs Harbour) (12:19:37):

By leave: At the core of every Rotary club is a group of people with the desire to do good for our community, and that is exactly what one will find on the Coffs Coast. I acknowledge some of the local Rotary clubs in the Coffs Harbour electorate. The Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour was chartered in 1949. It is the oldest Rotary club in Coffs Harbour, with a diverse range of members of all ages and genders. A shining example of Rotary's heavy lifting in my electorate is the fitness station at Coffs Harbour's southern foreshores, which is a welcome addition to the community facilities in our city. This exciting project was all about enabling people to get healthy while taking in the stunning harbourside views. In October 2019 I joined members of the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour for the official opening of the southern foreshores fitness station. Rotary identified the need to provide an opportunity for all members of our community to have free access to fitness equipment. I congratulate the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour on delivering this important project and I am proud of the $16,000 New South Wales Government grant that helped deliver it.

For over 16 years Rotary has run the annual Bookfest, where the sale of second-hand books to the public is conducted over a full week. It is held at the Coffs Harbour Showground and is the largest book fair on the North Coast, with 80,000 or so books for sale. They encourage customers to "Buy this year—give back next", which has been very much appreciated by the community. The Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour is also welcoming locals and visitors to the tenth annual Bendigo Bank Coffs Harbour Running Festival on Sunday 12 September 2021. It features the Beachside Radiology Half Marathon, the Cex Coffs 10km Fun Run, the Coastal Works 5km Fun Run, the Key Employment 3km Fun Run and the Mercedes-Benz Coffs Coast Nyami and Jaanybarr of the Creek—a combination of the half-marathon, the 10-kilometre and the five-kilometre distances for a total of 36.1 kilometres.

Coffs City Rotary was chartered in August 1986. It is an active club and has been a driving force in the Coffs Harbour community for decades. Coffs City Rotary has raised and donated well over $800,000 to local and overseas charities. Coffs City Rotary members pride themselves on being involved in some of the biggest and best events on the Coffs Coast, including the NAB Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge. Their golf charity day is a four‑person ambrose with a shotgun start. It draws over 100 entrants and requires more than 20 volunteers, supplemented by staff from the host course. For those of a more genteel persuasion, Coffs City Rotary runs the Wine, Beer and Food Enjoyment Day. Traditionally run each May at Novotel Pacific Bay Resort, the day brings together the best wine, beer and food producers of the Coffs Coast and delivers their wares directly to the public.

The National Cartoon Gallery is Australia's only dedicated cartoon gallery, exhibiting the largest private collection of contemporary cartoons in the Southern Hemisphere. The creation of the gallery is largely thanks to Coffs City Rotary and in particular the two drivers of the project, Tom Hamilton-Foster and the late John Champion. Their work in acquiring sponsorships and local business funding enabled the restoration of the building to proceed. Their caricatures are proudly displayed in the gallery's foyer. In February I was joined by Deputy Premier John Barilaro to officially open the National Cartoon Gallery at the Bunker, which was upgraded thanks to $2.6 million from the New South Wales Government. It was an honour to officially open Australia's largest collection of more than 23,500 historical cartoons spanning over 120 years of Australian history. Coffs City Rotary also proudly supports the National Youth Science Forum by identifying and supporting talented young science students and helping them to pursue their goals.

The Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Daybreak was chartered in 1991 and is a mixed club with youthful, energetic members. They are proud of their fundraising for 10 Welch Allyn vital signs monitors for the cancer unit, promotion for a PET scanner for Coffs Harbour Base Hospital and development of a walkway for the south side of Coffs Harbour. Last week I was joined on stage by Woolgoolga Rotary Club president Julie Marshall where we judged the Coffs Coast Science and Engineering Challenge, an event that brings together seven local high schools. I pay tribute to all Rotarians on the Coffs Coast—from our northern beaches to Sawtell—for their passion, dedication and hard work in making our region an even better place to live.

Dr JOE McGIRR (Wagga Wagga) (12:23:52):

By leave: Rotary has strong, long-established links to Wagga Wagga and I congratulate Rotary as an organisation on its 100th anniversary celebration this year. The oldest club in my electorate is the Wagga Wagga club, which was formed in 1930. South Wagga Wagga followed in 1960, Wagga Wagga Kooringal in 1969, Wollundry Wagga Wagga in 1978, Wagga Wagga Sunrise in 1991 and Wagga Wagga Murrumbidgee in 2006. In 2016 a Charles Sturt University [CSU] Wagga Wagga Rotaract Club was formed. There are also Rotary clubs in Tumut and Batlow and in 2019 the Lockhart Rotary Club handed in its charter after 63 years of service to its community. All of those clubs have a long and proud history of supporting the Rotary goals and ideals and of giving back to their communities.

Rotary came to the city of Wagga Wagga in 1929. That was just after the US share market collapsed—a major time. The new Rotary club, under the presidency of Harry Mitchelmore, was heavily involved in a project to resettle homeless people in north Wagga. While it was sponsored by the Albury club, it subsequently sponsored a number of clubs in the region. It was lucky enough to host a visit from Paul Harris in 1935. Over the decades the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga has been involved in many community and charity events and this weekend it will host the hugely popular Rotary Book Fair, which is one of my favourites. The next to be established was the Rotary Club of South Wagga Wagga, and members of that club provide more than 2,000 hours of voluntary work each year. The club has supported a number of groups such as Country Hope, Ronald McDonald House, Kurrajong, Angel Flight, Can Assist and many smaller groups. The club has also sponsored young people at the National Youth Science Forum.

The Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Kooringal celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2019. Kooringal Rotarians began the Peace City project in 1990, which continued to grow and in February 1993 saw the unveiling of a peace monument in Wagga—the world's first Peace City. The Rotary Club of Wollundry Wagga Wagga is one of city's largest and most active. The club manages fundraising markets that provide funds to support a variety of events. They include the Saturday markets, the Wagga Wagga Food and Wine Festival and the Gears and Beers festival.

The Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Sunrise broke new ground with its formation. It began as a mixed‑gender breakfast club, as it was believed there was a need for a new option in addition to the existing Rotary clubs in Wagga, and has a reputation for fun and fellowship among its members. The service projects allow them to work together. The club is a strong supporter of the Rotary District 9705 projects. Wagga is also lucky enough to have a Rotaract Club based at the city's Charles Sturt University campus. The Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Murrumbidgee describes itself as a new-generation club that encourages younger people to become members, to initiate projects, to promote community liaison and to build awareness and support for community issues.

The Rotary Club of Batlow has been a vital part of the Batlow community since it was chartered in April 1970 by the Rotary Club of Tumut. By undertaking activities such as wood raffles, barbecues and other events for their community, its members continue to be strong supporters—particularly after the fires last year in Batlow. The Tumut club was chartered in 1953 and its members continue to work, an example of this being the immensely popular Falling Leaf Festival. One of its more recent projects was teaming up with the Snowy Valleys Council and the Blakeney Millar Foundation for the famous Community Labyrinth.

Before I finish I note a very significant event for us. In 2022 Wagga Wagga's Geraldine Rurenga will make history as the youngest district governor in Zone 8, taking over from Michael Moore. She is 29 and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Murrumbidgee since 2014. This year the Wagga district will merge with the Canberra district to form a super‑district of around 80 clubs. I congratulate Ms Rurenga on that achievement. She is one of the few female district governors in the history of Rotary, which only started allowing women into the ranks about 30 years ago. I congratulate her on that achievement and I congratulate all Rotarians on their achievements and contributions to our community.

Ms Eleni Petinos:

I seek leave to make a contribution to the debate.

Leave not granted.

Mr Ray Williams:

I request an extension of time so that all members of this House who wish to speak on the wonderful work that Rotary does in all of our communities may do so. I am deeply disappointed that the member for Wyong would want to shut down debate.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Felicity Wilson):

I understand the point that the member for Castle Hill is making.

Mr David Harris:

You have had a day and a half.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Felicity Wilson):

The member for Wyong will remain silent. Unfortunately the standing orders do not allow for an extension of time.

Mr LEE EVANS (Heathcote) (12:29:26):

In reply: It is a bit disappointing that we cannot finish the motion but I do acknowledge the time constraints faced by the House. I thank the member for Prospect for his very good speech in which he outlined the history and background about the start of Rotary in New South Wales and Australia. The member for Manly made poignant comments and the member for Fairfield spoke about his local clubs and the major fundraising that they do through raffles. The member for Myall Lakes discussed the Hay Run and the one-stop shop for drought and flood relief. The member for Maitland talked about Rotary Youth Leadership Awards [RYLA], overseas exchanges and lasting legacies. The member for Dubbo mentioned the Royal Far West bike ride and the member for Oatley spoke about the world's 12 million Rotarians and 35,000 clubs. I acknowledge the contributions made by members representing the electorates of Castle Hill, Albury, Coffs Harbour and Wagga Wagga. I thank all members who had an opportunity to speak about Rotary. It is the centenary of Rotary this month and I congratulate all Rotary clubs across Australia, particularly those in New South Wales on their fantastic work. Rotary volunteers put in hundreds of thousands of hours to do fantastic work here and overseas. I congratulate all those clubs that have relationships with clubs overseas.

The work that New South Wales Rotary and all the local Rotary clubs in our communities do cannot be overlooked. I acknowledge the amount of money that Rotary raises for not only Australian projects but also projects across the world. I spoke about the work that is being done all over the world, and the number one priority is the eradication of polio. It has been a long-term plan of Rotary to do that, and with the help of the Microsoft team and a large amount of money put in by them, there are about 65 cases left in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are almost there. The next big plan for Rotary once the world is rid of polio is to start on the eradication of malaria. I again thank all members who were able to speak and those who were preparing to speak to the motion. I wish Rotary New South Wales a very merry 100 years and a happy birthday.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Felicity Wilson):

I thank the member for Heathcote and add the congratulations of the House to Rotary on its centenary, which includes the North Sydney, North Sydney Sunrise, Crows Nest and Mosman Rotary clubs in my community. The House thanks Rotary for its service over those 100 years.

The question is that the motion be agreed to.

Motion agreed to.