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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 11982

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (13:36): This evening I will attend a flag raising ceremony at Old Parliament House to celebrate United Nations Day and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the UN. United Nations Day is celebrated each year on 24 October. The UN website notes:

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

… In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

Unfortunately, Australia is yet to adopt UN day as a public holiday, but I certainly think the idea has merit and that it could replace other, perhaps redundant, public holidays in each state and territory. I also support the notion of Australian schools celebrating UN day as a way to discuss the importance of universal human rights and the work the UN does in so many different fields around the world.

While the media tends to portray the UN in terms of its UN Security Council and peacekeeping 'blue helmet' role, where the focus is on conflict, member states in fact, for the most part, cooperate for the global good. How else could you explain the international postal system, international shipping, international civil aviation, the World Health Organisation, UNESCO's role in declaring and protecting World Heritage, and the innumerable multilateral treaties establishing international human rights and environmental standards? I am proud to have been a staff member of the United Nations for eight years, and I express my best wishes for a happy70th birthday.