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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 9027


Mr GILES (Scullin) (11:10): I rise to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution made by volunteers in the Scullin electorate and, in this place, to say thank you to all of them for their contribution. On 29 August, it was my privilege to host this year's Scullin Volunteer Awards, my efforts to recognise those recipients for their contribution to community but also for the example they set for others.

I think the timing of this year's awards was particularly significant because it followed a very difficult week in this place. It followed a week in this parliament that shocked many Australians and shook their faith not just in this government but in our democratic institutions and in the possibilities of politics. I found sharing a day with the stories of these great volunteers, these selfless contributors to community, the perfect antidote. I was pleased to share it with my friend the state member for Dandenong and the Andrews government's parliamentary secretary responsible for volunteers, Gabrielle Williams, and to share with her our appreciation of these great contributions from people who were not just chosen by me but recognised by their peers for their contributions to service delivery organisations, to sporting clubs and to social networks. It was an absolute pleasure to see the pride of friends and families in seeing these efforts acknowledged, and it was a privilege to be able to express my appreciation to all of those for their efforts.

Speaker—Deputy Speaker, rather, for the moment!—I think it is important in this place to acknowledge these contributions. I talked about these efforts as an antidote for the feelings of disquiet and distrust with the present state of politics. I think it is important that in this place we not only honour the contribution of volunteers but seek to match their selflessness and devotion to community. It was a particular privilege to see the volunteer organisations talking to each other and looking at further opportunities to work to the benefit of community. Perhaps that's the example that we can do better to heed in this place. A good society is shaped by the democratic decisions of government, but a big part of that also must involve the efforts of community in coming together to shape for themselves how relationships are formed. This is incredibly important when we understand the costs of social isolation as well. We have here, in volunteering, something which is a good for community but a good also for individuals.