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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 13961


Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (10:58): We often speak about our local volunteers, but today I would like to talk about our international volunteers. I would like to start with a thankyou and name some names. They should be named and praised rather than named and shamed! They should be named and praised: Amy Stevenson, Mike Brocklehurst, Lois Pratt, Luke Ablett, Andrea Klindworth, Darold Klindworth, Tegan Mumford, Myles Mumford, Angela Fitzgerald and Joseph O'Brien. These people are all international volunteers from my amazing electorate of McMillan. I am delighted to note that International Volunteer Day will be celebrated next week and to celebrate the important contribution that our international volunteers make both to communities overseas in which they serve and in this Great South Land of Australia.

I congratulate all Australian volunteers, especially those in my electorate, who have given their time and skills as volunteers to develop countries in our own Indo-Pacific region and some even further afield. To them I say: your enthusiasm and commitment to improve the lives of others is highly commendable, particularly when it involves taking you away from your life in Australia, your family and your friends. Your contributions are many. Your accomplishments with your host organisations and your adopted local communities during your recent assignments will endure for a very long time. Volunteers transfer knowledge, teach critical skills and demonstrate leadership in creative and resourceful ways, driven by the desire simply to help others.

The Australian government has supported international volunteering for more than 50 years. Since the 1960s, we have sent over 10,000 volunteers to countries throughout the Pacific, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to work with thousands of organisations, small and large. Over the years, Australian volunteer programs have been reshaped and repackaged, but the vision has always remained the same. By living in the communities in which they work, Australian volunteers share their knowledge and their lives to help reduce poverty and encourage prosperity. The work of volunteers helps to advance Australia's international reputation and gives a powerful and tangible voice to the work of Australia's aid program.

We celebrate International Volunteer Day next week and thank you for your contributions and your achievements. If you have not already, I encourage you to engage the Returned Australian Volunteer Network. The network is open to any returned Australian government funded volunteer from any version of our national program, all the way back to the volunteer graduate scheme of the 1960s. The Returned Australian Volunteer Network provides a forum where volunteers can stay in contact with each other in the community and also showcases the contribution that volunteers make to those here in Australia. You have wonderful stories to tell and we want you to continue to share these stories with an ever-expanding professional network. The Australian Volunteers for International Development website has more information at www.dfat.gov.au/australianvolunteers.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs Prentice ): I thank the member for Macmillan for those good and appropriate words. However, in accordance with standing order 193, the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.