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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Briggs, Jamie, MP, Bowen, Chris, MP)
(Sidebottom, Sid, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Morrison, Scott, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Thomson, Craig, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Forrest, John, MP, Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Danby, Michael, MP, Combet, Greg, MP)
(Katter, Bob, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Leigh, Andrew, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Fitzgibbon, Joel, MP, Smith, Stephen, MP)
(Stone, Dr Sharman, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Vamvakinou, Maria, MP, Macklin, Jenny, MP)
(Ley, Sussan, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Cobb, John, MP, Burke, Tony, MP)
(Brodtmann, Gai, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Hunt, Gregory, MP, Combet, Greg, MP)
Violence against Women
(Parke, Melissa, MP, Ellis, Kate, MP)
National Education Standards
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Donations to Political Parties
(Melham, Daryl, MP, Gray, Gary, MP)
- Asylum Seekers
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- DEPARTMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY SERVICES
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- PARLIAMENTARY RETIRING ALLOWANCES TRUST
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH
- STANDING ORDERS
- NATIONAL HEALTH AMENDMENT (PHARMACEUTICAL BENEFITS SCHEME) BILL 2010
CIVIL DISPUTE RESOLUTION BILL 2010
FOOD STANDARDS AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND AMENDMENT BILL 2010
TRADEX SCHEME AMENDMENT BILL 2010
OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (MISCELLANEOUS MEASURES) BILL 2010
OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE (SAFETY LEVIES) AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE (SAFETY LEVIES) AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- SUPERANNUATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS INTERCEPTION AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- AIRPORTS AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- Adult Education
- Murray Electorate: Echuca Hospital
- Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources
- Murray-Darling Basin
- Fadden Electorate: School Choirs
- Kingston Electorate: McLaren Vale Regional Awards
Ms Sally Chatfield
- Page Electorate
- Ryan Electorate: Building the Education Revolution Program
- Redcliffe Relay for Life
- Start of Business
- Swan Electorate: Roads
- International Development Assistance
- Fadden Electorate: Health Services
- Corio Electorate: Historic Churches
- Indi Electorate: Telecommunications
- Bradfield Electorate: Coeliac Society
- Fraser Electorate: Ride to Work Day
- Macquarie Electorate: Lachlan Macquarie
- Robertson Electorate: Davistown Putt Putt Regatta
- PROTECTION OF THE SEA LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- INTERNATIONAL TAX AGREEMENTS AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2010
NATIONAL SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON LAW ENFORCEMENT BILL 2010
- PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON LAW ENFORCEMENT BILL 2010
- OZONE PROTECTION AND SYNTHETIC GREENHOUSE GAS MANAGEMENT AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- PRIMARY INDUSTRIES (EXCISE) LEVIES AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- ST MARY OF THE CROSS
- DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Mr HOCKEY (8:42 PM) —On indulgence: to all of my colleagues in this place, I would say that many of them claim to have in their electorates a close association with St Mary of the Cross. That is because Mary belongs to no single part of Australia but to all Australians. As my friend and colleague the member for Reid has just pointed out, Mary’s earthly remains are in the heart of my electorate of North Sydney. In fact back in 1909 Mary was buried at Gore Hill cemetery. Even in those days, only just after her death, she was so venerated by so many Australians that people were taking soil from the site of her burial and quite appropriately the Josephites found a permanent resting place for Mary in the heart of the CBD of North Sydney.
The canonisation of Mary MacKillop was watched by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Australians. Apart from the 10,000 proud and happily boisterous Australians in St Peter’s Square as part of a crowd of 50,000, there were Australians all over the nation visiting places and happily celebrating the canonisation of Mary, our first saint. I think the Pope’s smile, which emerged during the canonisation in reaction to the boisterous support of the Australian people in the crowd, would have brought a smile to the face of Mary herself. We are immensely proud to have our first home-grown saint.
So many of my colleagues have outlined the history of Mary, who was born in Melbourne in 1842 and in 1866 opened the first St Joseph’s School in Penola in South Australia. In 1867 she took her vows to become Sister Mary of the Cross. Within just three years Mary had established 21 schools with 72 sisters. She established refuges for women coming out of prison. She established support facilities for the aged and orphans. She was the first Australian to establish an order and the first nun to leave the cities to educate and minister to the rural poor and the working class.
So much has been written about her excommunication back in 1871, which was of course a terrible aberration. The headquarters of the Josephite nuns were transferred to Sydney in 1883. In 1909, when Mary died, there were 750 sisters, there were institutes and houses sheltering over 1,000 people who were poor or in need and there were 117 schools attended by over 12,000 pupils.
Mary’s motto was ‘Never see a need without doing something about it’. I was very honoured to be invited to speak at a dinner at Sydney Town Hall with the Prime Minister during the election campaign to raise funds to support Josephite nuns travelling to Rome for the canonisation. It was on that day that I reflected on my own engagement with the Josephite nuns. Written in Latin above one of the doors of St Paul’s Cathedral is: ‘If you are looking for a monument, look around you.’ The great monument of Mary is the contribution of the Josephites over all that time since she founded the order back, effectively, in 1866 when she opened St Joseph’s School in Penola.
I was one of the many people educated by the Josephites. I attended what was St Kieran’s parish school in Northbridge; it is now St Philip Neri, named after the parish itself. There was a nun there—and I am sure she would not mind—who, all those years ago, I thought was probably 100 years of age but is still alive today. It was only a couple of years ago that I received a phone call from Sister Vincent. The phone call came through and my staff said, ‘A Sister Vincent on the phone.’ The only Sister Vincent I knew was the principal of that school and she had looked on me rather harshly during those years, usually with a weapon of mass destruction in her hand. She took to heart the motto ‘Never see a need without doing something about it’ and she had thought I needed excessive discipline from time to time, which was—
Honourable members interjecting—
Mr HOCKEY —Do not encourage her; she is still alive. Anyway, I had been sitting in parliament and had gone back to my office when I got the message that Sister Vincent was on the phone. I nearly fell off my chair. In fact, I stood up to take the call and I said, ‘Hello, Sister Vincent.’ She said: ‘Mr Hockey, whenever you sit in that chamber, please do not slouch in the chair; sit up straight.’ I said, ‘Yes, Sister Vincent.’ Nothing had changed and this wonderful Irish nun, who had dedicated her entire life to the Josephites, was still there for me.
During the election I went and visited her at the Josephite nursing home in Hunters Hill in my electorate and I met so many other magnificent women who had dedicated their lives to making a contribution to God and, most significantly, a contribution to the Josephites. It is fantastic. Those who give often receive and, of all the nuns in that Josephite nursing home, five were more than 100 years of age, which is a pretty good batting average. But they were still as sharp as their Irish heritage would allow them to be.
Throughout their lives the Josephites have been givers. What has most impressed me is that not only have the Josephite nuns educated tens of thousands of people, and not only have they influenced the lives of so many families through that education process, but the Josephite nuns have set up refuges for women who have been the victims of domestic violence, women with nowhere to go with their children in the darkest conceivable moment in a human being’s life—when a man in the house is wreaking physical havoc upon a woman. And the Josephites were there. Not only have they provided that service in Australia but they have provided, and they continue to provide, essential services to help families and young children in New Zealand, East Timor, Ireland, Peru and Brazil. In the past they have worked in countries like Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Cambodia, Thailand, Tanzania and China. In fact, my own sister, who lived in Senegal in West Africa for some period of time, also has an engagement with the Josephites.
Today the work continues in a whole range of programs like the no-interest loan scheme, drug and alcohol programs, cancer support and family services. I will give just three examples of the work of the Josephites. St Anthony’s Family Care in Croydon, which I think might be in the electorate of the member for Reid, provides services to families of Sudanese refugees—respite care and support for families with disabled children and a childcare centre. When I was the minister in charge of Centrelink the Sudanese refugee issue was one that I was acutely aware of, given the horrendous experience of the child dying in a home of African refugees because they did not know how to use the phone to call an ambulance. It is for reasons like this that you need this sort of NGO care—care which no government organisation can ever be a substitute for.
In New Zealand the sisters run the Beautiful Daughters program to help assist young women who are homeless or living in poverty—again, they are focusing on those most in need. In Australia the sisters run the Josephite Counter-Trafficking Project, which primarily assists Asian women who have been trafficked as sex slaves or as working slaves to Australia.
Even though he is a very good friend of mine, Peter FitzSimons, in his columns of recent times, has been writing that to believe in God is absurd and that he is a creation of the mind. I would say to my mate Fitzy and to all those who are atheists: do not be threatened by people who have faith. I gave a speech along these lines, not long ago, in defence of God and I stand by everything I said. The Josephites encapsulate what it means to be compassionate. Whether it is a Catholic god, a Muslim god or a Jewish god, our God is compassionate and preaches compassion.
Therefore, I would say that the embodiment of the Josephites and the legacy of Mary are the fact that compassion exists on a daily basis, particularly for those most vulnerable. That is Mary’s great legacy; that is the great contribution of St Mary of the Cross. Her canonisation is merely a step along the path. Her great legacy will be the ongoing contribution of the Josephites in Australia and other parts of the world. The recognition of Mary by this parliament, by the Pope, by the Church of Rome and by people around the world is really recognition of the contribution of those who have followed her, as much as it is recognition of her own life, and a thankyou to all of them for what they have done and particularly what they are going to do for the poorest people and the most vulnerable people for many years into the future.