Community: Rotary Australia & New Zealand

Federation Chamber
Wednesday 2 June 2021

Rotary in Australia and New Zealand celebrates 100 years of service this year. In 1921, four Rotary clubs were created in Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington and Sydney, and from there, Rotary clubs have been established right across Australia. Today communities all over our country benefit from the hard work and services of local Rotary clubs, including in my electorate of Oxley. I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Rotary clubs in my community who do so much work on both local and international causes. Thank you to the Rotary clubs of Greater Springfield, Brisbane Centenary, Forest Lake, Goodna, Jindalee and Sumner Park.

In April I had the honour of joining many of these local Rotary clubs at the very special unveiling of the Lorikeet Park Peace Pole. Rotary has been instrumental in celebrating and promoting peace and unity through its international Peace Pole Project. This great project, which began in Japan in 1955, has placed 200,000 of these internationally recognised symbols of peace on earth in 200 countries around the world, including at the Egyptian pyramids in Giza, in Hiroshima and even at the North Pole. This year, Rotary aims to distribute 100 peace poles across Australia in celebration of 100 years of Rotary, spreading the universal peace message, 'May peace prevail on earth.' This message is written on the pole in four languages, highlighting that, although we may speak different languages, we are one.

As the federal member for Oxley, I'm proud to represent one of the most culturally diverse electorates in the country. Our unity through diversity has always been, and will always be, what makes Australia strong. Initiatives like the peace pole are opportunities for us to share and celebrate all the things that make us unique and bring us together. Strengthening our unity and diversity should always be a priority. This is what helps to build a more understanding, welcoming and peaceful world. In service of this goal, Rotary works to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene to communities across the globe to fight disease and improve access to low-cost and free health care. They are focused on supporting education, protecting the environment, growing local economies and reducing malnutrition. Not only do they promote these important causes across the globe but Rotary clubs like the ones in my electorate bring these issues to the attention of the Australian community. They make the fight for peace and a better world accessible and meaningful to every single Australian.

Time, energy and passion to improve our world are all you need to get involved with your Rotary club and contribute to important causes locally and around the world. Through Rotary's Interact club program, young people are introduced to these important issues. They're empowered to make changes in their school community and to contribute meaningfully to the world around them. I know that my local community is richer for the work that our Rotary and Interact clubs do. The Rotary Club of Greater Springfield, for example, hosts a trash and treasure market every month to raise funds for their work in the community and to promote reuse and recycling of items that would otherwise end up in a dump. The Rotary Club of Brisbane Centenary recently shipped vital donations to Timor-Leste, and the Jindalee club organises volunteers to remove graffiti from their local community. The Rotary Club of Sumner Park organises volunteers to clean up local parks on the second Sunday of each month and the Forest Lake Interact club run a fun-run as a fundraiser, raising $1,187 for the Wounded Warrior Project. This is not an exhaustive list of what these clubs have done for my community. There simply isn't enough time to go through all of their activities.

The Oxley electorate is incredibly privileged to have these clubs serving us locally, and I know that communities all over the world have benefited from their service as well. Thank you to these local Rotary clubs and to all Rotary clubs across Australia for your service over the past 100 years. I look forward to seeing the impact you will have on our local communities, our country and the globe into the future.