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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 269


Mr MATHESON (Macarthur) (13:58): I would like to publicly thank the Macarthur community for its outstanding contribution to this year's Christmas for the Troops campaign. Boxes of donations were dropped off at my office in Camden to send to Australian troops serving overseas during the Christmas period. The parcels were sent to Aussie soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen and explosive-detection dogs. Locals donated completed care packages and items to be put into care packages, which were all sent to troops serving in the Middle East, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, just in time for Christmas.

To most Australians, Christmas is a great opportunity to spend time with our family and friends. This is why, with the help of the local media, I encouraged residents in Macarthur to spare a thought for the Australian troops serving overseas who would not be with their families this Christmas. My father served in Vietnam, so I know all too well what it is like to have a loved one out of reach during those special times of the year. We also have many troops from the Macarthur region currently serving overseas, so it was important that we show them support at this time.

I think it is fantastic that Australia Post allows everyday Australians to send parcels to our troops serving overseas, free of charge. It is a great example of the Aussie spirit when strangers send comfort food, magazines, toiletries, socks, DVDs and letters of support to our troops. Seeing so many donations come into my office made me feel very proud, not only to be the son of an Australian veteran but also to be an Australian and a member of the Macarthur community. I thank everyone who donated items for this year's appeal and look forward to coordinating this campaign from my office again next year.