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Remarks at the Fred Hollows Foundation launch of the book "In Fred's footstops - 20 years of restoring sight", Canberra



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH

23 August 2012

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR REMARKS AT THE FRED HOLLOWS FOUNDATION LAUNCH OF “IN FRED’S FOOTSTEPS - 20 YEARS OF RESTORING SIGHT”, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

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Shakespeare famously said of men, “The good is oft interred with their bones”. Not in Fred Hollows’ case. Fred Hollows magnificently contradicted that Shakespearian aphorism.

It’s good to be here with the Prime Minister to help launch this important account of the work of the Foundation. I acknowledge Gabi Hollows, I acknowledge the indigenous elders who are here today because Fred had so much concern for them. I acknowledge Brian Doolan, the CEO of the Foundation, who has shown such loyalty to Fred and to his vision for so many years, and I pay tribute to the extraordinary work that’s been done by the Foundation.

As David has just reminded us, some one million people around the globe have been saved from avoidable blindness because of the work of the Foundation, inspired by this extraordinary Australian and the Foundation has worked in some of the most difficult places imaginable. Yes, they’ve worked in Eritrea, where Fred did so many good things; Nepal, Vietnam, Pakistan, Afghanistan. In 2006, 10,000 eye-saving operations were carried out for the Foundation in the middle of a war zone and of course, the Foundation has done so much good work here in our own country.

It’s not the things that we have to do but the things we choose to do. It’s not the things we do for money but the things we do for love that are the measure of our humanity. By that test, Fred Hollows was a truly remarkable human being. He loved the poem attributed to Emerson which was on his surgery wall: “To know even one life is breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Fred Hollows succeeded beyond his own wildest dreams, I’m sure. He succeeded beyond the measure of the vast majority of human beings but because of his success, the rest of us are uplifted; the rest of us are inspired.

May so many more of us follow in Fred’s footsteps and continue to honour this great Australian who was truly a man in full.

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