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The Salvation Army's 1998 Sydney Red Shield Appeal, Sydney, Tuesday, 21 April 1998: address on the occasion of the launch.

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It is a great pleasure for my wife, Helen, and myself to be here this afternoon for the launch o f The Salvation Arm y’ s 1998 Red Shield Appeal in Sydney and, in conjunction with other events, throughout the Arm y’ s Australia Eastern Territory.

Let me begin by publicly commending the Red Shield Appeal to all Australians who, like Helen and me, admire the profoundly important work that The Salvation Army undertakes on behalf o f the poor, the disadvantaged and those in distress in our country. For 118 years, both by precept and by example. The Salvation Army in Australia has daily

practiced and emphasised the mission o f outreach to those in need. That mission lies at the heart o f the universal Christian Church

The Arm y’ s dedication to that mission in Australia can be traced all the way back to its first public meeting in Adelaide, one September afternoon in 1880, only 15 years after the movement had been founded by W illiam Booth to serve the wretchedly poor o f London. Two young men, John Gore and Edward Saunders, stood on a greengrocer’ s cart before a small crowd under an Adelaide river red gum Moved by an impulse, Gore invited everyone in the crowd who hadn’t had a decent meal that day to go home with him to be fed

Since that day, The Salvation Army has served generations o f Australian men, women and children in poverty, in want, in distress. Next financial year, for example, the Arm y’ s Community Service Program is expected to provide welfare services totalling some $250 million throughout Australia Those services range across the whole spectrum o f social need: emergency relief, crisis and support accommodation, employment services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, prison and court counselling, hospital visitation, youth

services, marriage guidance, family and grief counselling, aged care, services for migrants, for disabled people, canteens for the defence forces, assistance at times o f civil disasters, chaplaincies, missing persons services, social welfare work and so on

As I remarked at the opening o f The Salvation Arm y’s International Leaders’ Conference in Melbourne last month, there are few Australians who, at some time or another, have not been assisted or influenced by The Salvation Army. Whenever there is a crisis o f human or natural causation, there is usually someone from the Army to be found


dispensing material and spiritual support and comfort “ With heart to God and hand to man” , as the motto so aptly puts it

Next week, on 28 April, we w ill remember the second anniversary o f the Port Arthur massacre We w ill remember with sorrow the 35 victims who were killed, those who were injured, and their relatives But we also remember with pride and respect all those who were involved in the rescue, medical and support services among whom, it almost goes without saying, were members o f The Salvation Army And o f course, as the presence o f Stuart Diver with us today so powerfully reminds us. The Salvation Army was also very actively involved with the support teams at the time o f the disastrous landslide af Thredbo in August, last year - comforting and sustaining the rescue teams and the relatives and friends who waited and who grieved

The saying that we Australians have - “ Thank God for the Salvos” - reflects a truth that can be verified by many generations o f experience: by people in want, by people in crisis, by those who have found the Salvationists there, ready to help when they were needed - to give support and succour at times both o f peace and war.

The theme o f this year’ s Red Shield Appeal, “ Who’ ll Come i f the Salvos Don’t?” , uses the song “ Waltzing Matilda” , to invoke the emotional core o f the Australian experience: our independence o f spirit, our willingness to help others in distress, our determination, our sense o f mateship, our good humour, our essential decency. These things The Salvation Army has embodied both in word and deed over the decades - a

record o f witness and o f practical help that the Australian community at large has recognised and responded to since the first o f the annual Red Shield Appeals was held in 1965.

Ladies and gentlemen, the money raised from the Appeal - the national target this year is $40 million - w ill go to make up the deficit between the total o f government grants, client contributions and institutional support for The Salvation Army’ s Community Service Program and the projected amount required for 1998-1999. That work is o f critical

importance to our disadvantaged - to all those in need o f help and comfort. And it is also o f critical importance to our nation For surely, the ultimate test o f our worth as a truly democratic nation is how we treat our most disadvantaged and vulnerable. And that is

what this Appeal is all about

As I said at the beginning o f these remarks, I commend the Appeal to you Through it, we can all support and participate in the work, the goodness, the sacrifice and the achievement o f The Salvation Army and its members throughout Australia

And now, with the greatest pleasure, I officially launch the 1998 Red Shield Appeal in Sydney and the Australia Eastern Territory .