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Address at the launch of Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, Parliament House

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20 November 2013



It’s terrific to be here with the Leader of the Opposition, with the Leader of the Greens, with Minister Kevin Andrews, with Guy Russo from Kmart and with the senior leadership of the Salvation Army, for the launch of the Kmart Wishing Tree this Christmas.

This is a marvellous initiative of Kmart and the Salvation Army. It’s been going for a quarter of a century. In that time, some five million presents have been donated to Australians in need.

Last year, over 400,000 gifts were presented as part of the Wishing Tree initiative, and this year, we’re hoping that there’ll be half a million gifts made available to Australians in need this Christmas, as part of this initiative. There is something innate in all of us that want to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Christmas is a marvellous time of togetherness. It’s a marvellous time of giving, and yet, not everyone is together with their loved ones, and not every family can afford to give every member gifts. That’s why this is such a significant initiative; that’s why this is such an important manifestation of the better angels of our nature.

I’m very pleased to be with Bill Shorten and Christine Milne this morning, because this desire - to do the right thing by everyone in our country - is a universal desire; it’s not limited to either side of politics; it’s something, which as I say, is innate in all of us, and I’m very pleased to join the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Greens this morning. Warren Truss, the Leader of the National Party, would have liked to have been here, but unfortunately he is detained by urgent Government business. But he is here in spirit.

As you can imagine, the Prime Minister’s office is one of the most visited parts of the Parliament, and I will be letting everyone visiting this office over the next month or so know that the Wishing Tree is here and I will be urging everyone who visits this office - including my Parliamentary colleagues, including members of the diplomatic corps, including the various lobbyists who like to beat a path to the Prime Minister’s door - I’ll be letting them know that this tree is here, and I hope that many of them will be able to bring a gift, because it is a sign of the goodwill that should animate all of us at this time of the year, and it is a very practical way for people to help those less fortunate than themselves.


I’m going to ask Guy Russo, followed by Commissioner Tidd to speak, then I’ll ask Bill Shorten and Christine Milne to support the event, and then there’ll be an opportunity for all of us to place gifts under the Wishing Tree.