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Thursday, 1 August 2019
Page: 1900


Ms BELL (Moncrieff) (10:11): What a pleasure it is to stand in this Federation Chamber this morning to talk about my community. Today I've chosen to speak about veterans and their families. I'm proud to say that Moncrieff is home to a large veteran community. Firstly I'd like to acknowledge all those who have served and who serve today to keep our nation and our families safe. My very first public event as the candidate for Moncrieff was at the Southport RSL Kapyong Day commemoration service, where I met a number of wonderful veterans and their families. I also attended their regular morning tea a few weeks ago.

As I mentioned in my address yesterday in the House of Representatives chamber, there are three RSLs in my electorate: Nerang, Surfers Paradise and Southport. On Anzac Day I had the pleasure of attending services at all three, including the dawn service at Southport. I laid wreaths to honour those lives lost in protecting us from harm. I'd like to thank Nerang RSL President Stuart McGettigan and Vice President Darren Sapwell; Southport RSL President John Riebeling and Vice President Ken Orr; and Surfers Paradise RSL Acting President Len Guest and Vice President Garth Callender for their tireless work and dedication in helping our veterans.

On 5 May I attended the Battle of the Coral Sea commemoration at Surfers Paradise, at Cavill Memorial Park, organised by the Australian-American Association. Again, it was a beautiful sunny day to pay our respects to the 543 American and Australian men who lost their lives in this battle. Thank you to Fay and Rodney Brutlag for inviting me to be part of the service. I was pleased to sit alongside the member for Fadden, Stuart Robert, and the local member for Surfers Paradise, John-Paul Langbroek.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Korean Memorial in Cascade Gardens, in Broadbeach, to commemorate the end of the conflict on the Korean peninsula. We were joined by the Consul General to Australia, Sangwoo Hong; Dennis Cho, President of the Australian Department of the Korean Veterans Association; Simon Jeon, of the Korean Society of the Gold Coast; and Dave Harper, President of the South East Asia, Korea and Peacekeeping Veterans Association of the Gold Coast. Our city's mayor, Tom Tate, and lady mayoress, Ruth Tate, were also in attendance. It was an honour to lay a wreath in memory of these great soldiers.

I'd like to give special mention to Maurie Pears MC. Maurie's dedication and hard work have seen the Korean Memorial on the Gold Coast nationally recognised as a memorial of national significance. I'd also like to make mention of George Friend OAM. He is a veteran who retired as a major after 36 years of service in the military. The concept plans for the Kokoda Memorial Wall at the Cascade Gardens were drawn up by the City of Gold Coast council under the guidance of George Friend in 2003.

On 18 August I'll be attending the Vietnam Veterans Day service at Nerang RSL to pay my respects to the many Australians lost in the Vietnam War. I'm looking forward to working with the veteran community and giving them a voice in Canberra. I applaud the work of Minister Darren Chester and the Department of Veterans' Affairs for their work to improve services to veterans.