Dr Bob Coulthard AM

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (16:19): I rise today to acknowledge, with great sadness and respect, the passing of Dr Bob Coulthard AM. Dr Bob was truly an extraordinary man. The tributes that have flown from across Australia and around the globe are testament to the overwhelming respect and love for Dr Bob and recognition for his considerable achievements. In their tribute, Lions Australia notes:

Organisations have their treasures, their icons and legends. Dr Bob is one of these and will remain alive in our history and hearts.

Dr Bob is one of the best known and respected members of Lions organisations in Australia and overseas. He joined the Lions Club of Marion, South Australia, in 1963 and served continuously and actively from that time. He served as president, district governor and council chairman, but it was his sight-saving activities that established him as a Lion of immense stature and contribution. In 1965, together with the former Liberal premier Dr David Tonkin, Dr Bob helped organise the first major Lions sight project in South Australia, a week-long program of glaucoma screening and education about preventable blindness.

He introduced amblyopia (lazy eye) awareness to Adelaide kindergartens in 1971, which was later expanded throughout South Australia and the Northern Territory. Over the next 15 years, he conducted regular screenings for clubs in several districts, with over 600,000 tests completed in that time. The Lions Professional Chair of Ophthalmology at Flinders University is largely a result of his leadership in helping to raise the funds to endow that appointment, but it was his election to the Lions International Board in 1988 that would lead to his global legacy.

At his first board meeting, he put forward a plan to establish a worldwide sight conservation program, known as SightFirst. It has become one of the largest international sight-related programs and has put us on the path to eradicating preventable blindness around the globe. Millions of people owe their sight to the efforts of Dr Bob and others who were able to convince the Lions Club International Board that a worldwide fundraising campaign to combat preventable blindness was practical and achievable.

I understand that more than $US400 million has been raised throughout the SightFirst campaign. Many people have benefited greatly by the support, leadership and knowledge of this great man, and it is clear from speaking to those who knew him and from the tributes that have flowed since his passing that he was always humble and an old-school gentleman. He was a friend and mentor to many and will be sorely missed. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, Jill, and to their family and my entire community in Blackwood, where I know that Dr Bob was such an active member.

Dr Bob was an outstanding Lion, inspiring in the spirit of his service to others. It is a spirit that fortunately lives on through the local Lions clubs in South Australia and around Australia, which make a significant and exceptional contribution to their immediate communities. Lions is always helping those who are less fortunate and in need all around the world. This year, Lions is celebrating 100 years of service in countries and communities across the globe. In my community, I am very fortunate to have three Lions clubs: my own club (Aberfoyle and Districts), Mitcham and the Lions Club of Blackwood.

The Lions Club of Blackwood has been around since 1965. They are best known for leading the annual Blackwood Christmas Pageant, a massive yet successful undertaking. It is the second oldest Christmas pageant in South Australia, behind only the Adelaide Christmas Pageant. The Blackwood pageant attracts over 10,000 spectators every year and has more than 1,000 participants. My community is certainly looking forward to the 2017 edition of the Blackwood Christmas Pageant, which this year will be held on 1 December.

Additionally, in my community Lions members can be found every Saturday morning at the club's bargain centre in Eden Hills where they sell a large range of donated items at incredibly cheap prices. Last year, they raised over $115,000 for the community, which has gone back to supporting grassroots organisations, individuals and deserving groups. Since its inception, the bargain centre has achieved sales of almost $2½ million. It is important that we thank and recognise not only the Lions clubs and their members for their outstanding efforts but also the nearly 400 community volunteers who help Blackwood Lions each year and the generosity of local residents who help make the fundraising efforts possible. In their centenary year, let's remember the Lions motto: where there's a need, there's a Lion.