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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 85


Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (10:48): The best of Hawkesbury basketballers were letting their hair down at the Hawkesbury and District Basketball Association presentation night in Windsor recently. The Jets is a growing club with great pride in what it has achieved. They're named in honour of the aircraft that fly in and out of our Richmond RAAF base. I'm always struck by the fabulous sense of community, and it's thanks to the hard work of parents and volunteers that they do so well. They fielded six junior teams this season, four of which made it into the finals. Three teams made it to the grand final—a huge effort for a small club. The under-14s won their grand final.

I had the privilege of presenting the association awards which recognise talented performers, committed leaders and volunteers, and those who are positive role models within the association. Alex Sowinski and Dan Stephenson won the junior association awards. Zabian Mamo received the senior association award, and referee of the year was Anthea Jarrett. Congratulations to all the winners and the teams; to the board, under the leadership of Maurice Mantovani; and to the referees, parents and other volunteers. It's clear the players give of themselves and give everything every single week in their training and their games.

In this place we work on many complicated pieces of policy to try to fix problems and make lives better. So, on R U OK? Day, it's refreshing to be able to talk about four simple steps that could change a life: ask, listen, encourage action and check in. Every one of us who talks about this in parliament does so because we hope someone in our communities hears our speech and asks someone else if they're okay. Two of the most common themes from the first speeches of the MPs who joined parliament with me two years ago were suicide and mental illness, which have touched the lives of so many people in this place. In Australia, we lose close to 3,000 people each year by suicide. That's about eight people every day. For every death by suicide, it's estimated 30 people will attempt to take their lives. In fact, 89 per cent of people report knowing someone who's attempted suicide. These are damning statistics. Sadly, government policy alone is not going to tackle this tragic waste of life. So I'd really encourage people to take a few minutes out of your day to ask a friend, a colleague, a loved one, a teammate or a neighbour—anyone you suspect might be struggling—if they're okay. The research shows us that loneliness is a big factor in people's lives. There's no single reason for people feeling that they don't want to live anymore, but, if we can reach out to people in any way we can, I think R U OK? Day is a great reminder to do that, and not just today. Have meaningful conversations every day of the year.