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Thursday, 18 October 1984
Page: 1964


Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN(1.42) — I want to speak in this non- controversial debate about a Lions Club project in Brisbane, namely, Lions Christmas seals. For those honourable senators who are lucky enough to be in the chamber, I have here a specimen of them. I pay tribute to the City of Brisbane Lions Club for its idea of bringing into Queensland in the first instance the Lions Christmas seals project. The idea is to buy these seals-they can be bought from post offices-and to put them on letters to seal them. This project is certainly worth while and will benefit intellectually handicapped children in Queensland and ultimately, of course, in Australia through the Endeavour Foundation. The City of Brisbane Lions Club held a function last Saturday morning at which I was privileged to launch these seals. I pay tribute to Lion Oscar Christiansen for his thoughtfulness in bringing this idea to our country. Lions clubs themselves will not gain any financial benefit from the sale and distribution of these seals. The money is going to the Endeavour Foundation.

I am sure that all honourable senators and all people throughout Australia will know of the work of Lions clubs. Many people throughout Australia buy Lions Christmas cakes if they do not have time to make one. The money raised from them , in the first place, was to help people with sight problems. That has now been extended and some of the money is also used to help those with hearing handicaps . Only just a couple of nights ago I had the opportunity of going to a White Cane dinner. Members of the Lions Club also participated. They brought many people who have seeing problems to this function and they put themselves out, along with many other service clubs throughout the community. I think of Rotary clubs, Apex clubs, Australian Jaycees and our women's Quota clubs. There are many service clubs. These clubs are all trying to help those less fortunate in the community. The idea of Christmas seals is not a new one. It actually began in Denmark in 1904. So a lot of good things have come out of Denmark over the years. The name Bjelke-Petersen comes from Denmark. I think that is a very good thought. Actually, that was some time ago. It was even before 1904 that Joh's mother came out from Denmark. In 1904 a postmaster by the name of Mr Holboll wanted to do something to raise money for children's welfare in Denmark. Since that idea began millions and millions of dollars have been raised in Denmark through these Christmas seals. This money is being used to support four homes for disadvantaged children. That is where Oscar Christiansen got the idea from. He is a Dane. He saw the seals on letters from Denmark. We have had many letters from Denmark. I have looked at these seals and wondered what the idea was. Last Saturday morning I visited the City of Brisbane Lions Club and I found this out for myself.

In these times of great commercialism, profit margins and the big sell, it has become quite easy to breeze through the Christmas season without giving much of a thought to what it is all about. I was once asked what Christmas meant to me and the answer I gave then I guess is still true now. I said: 'Christmas is to me having all the family together for a happy time and remembering the true message of Christmas, the gift of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world'. I feel that these seals will help to put Christ into Christmas, as the saying goes . We can see the wise men on their camels, the star, the people singing carols, the Christmas tree and the gifts, and the bells that ring for Christmas. There really are some delightful seals. When I was at the Club I promised the members that if I got a chance I would speak about these seals because not only should the people of Queensland know about it but I feel that the people of Australia should also know that the opportunity is there to purchase seals to remind them of Christmas. The Christmas seals program will help those who are less fortunate .

Whilst the great majority of us all enjoy good health and loving family homes, many children have not been so fortunate. These children will benefit from the sale of these Lions Christmas seals. I think we would all agree that Christmas is for children and intellectually handicapped children do deserve our love and our help. In Queensland and, indeed, throughout Australia, if these seals go interstate next Christmas, young teenagers, business men or women and even the multinational corporations, can all participate in this simple but effective way of raising money for the Endeavour Foundation. I pay tribute to the work of the Endeavour Foundation and all it does to help not only children but also adults. A tremendous number of people right throughout Australia have been helped by its sheltered workshops. Many parents of handicapped children have been very grateful indeed for the sheltered workshops and what is being done for the young people. I think that the Lions Christmas seal is a great way of helping others.

The post office has been very co-operative with these seals. A representative from the post office was at the launching and he said that the post office is very happy to sell these seals through their post offices. I must say that the post offices get a certain amount of commission for the sale but, nevertheless, a person can buy 30 seals for $3. I think it is a very worth while way of assisting others who really do need a lot of help. I am glad that I have had the opportunity in this non-controversial debate of speaking about the wonderful work that is being done through the Christmas seals by the Lions Club, all the service clubs and, above all, the Endeavour Foundation to help people who are not as fortunate as we are.