Australia day 2019

Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:34): I would like to talk about Australia Day. I rise to talk about the contribution of those residents in my electorate who made Australia Day such a wonderful celebration. This year, I had the honour to celebrate Australia Day at the beautiful grounds of Carrick Hill. Guests enjoyed a Welcome to Country by chairman of the Blackwood Reconciliation Group, Mr Allen Edwards. There was live music by local South Australian talent Camryn Jordans and also the wonderful sounds of the Mitcham City Brass band. As always, the Rotary clubs of Brownhill Creek and Mitcham prepared a wonderful breakfast.

This year, 85 people from 20 different countries living in the City of Mitcham became Australian citizens during the citizenship ceremony. I say this at every citizenship ceremony, but the smile and the look on the faces of those 85 people who were becoming new Australians on Australia Day was truly a beautiful thing.

The Mitcham Australia Day Citizen of the Year award was presented to Mr Ian Steel OAM, who has made an outstanding contribution to our community. Mr Steel is the CEO of KickStart for Kids, which he founded in the belief that 'every child, regardless of their social or economic background, should have an equal chance to succeed'. KickStart for Kids facilitates this belief by running breakfast and lunch programs, mentoring programs and providing clothing and healthcare support in South Australian schools as well as the latest venture of Camp KickStart.

In my electorate of Waite, four of my constituents received the highest honour that can be bestowed on any Australian, that is, to receive and have conferred on them an Australia Day award honour. They were Geoffrey Thomas OAM, David Gray AM, Ian Wall AM and Dr Robert Wight OAM. I would also like to make a special mention of someone who many of us in this chamber would know, and that is Stan Evans OAM, who received an OAM for his services to parliament and his work in the community.

Receiving this award is a wonderful acknowledgement of what these people do for our communities. Geoffrey Thomas has worked with the South Australian Grain Industry Trust, the Institute of Agricultural Science and the South Australian department of agriculture for many years. He is truly a champion of all things in that space. Tommo, as many know him in our community, is currently the chair of the Motor Neurone Disease Association of South Australia. MND is a terrible disease which, sadly, took his late wife, Mary, not long ago. To Tommo for his great work in that community, thank you very much.

David Gray has given significant service to veterans and their families through Legacy Australia and the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Ian Wall is a generous benefactor of the Burnside Hospital, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Novita Children's Services, the Carrick Hill Trust and the National Trust of South Australia, amongst many other organisations. He is truly a well-deserved recipient of the AM in this year's Australia Day awards. Dr Robert Wight has been involved with the Australian Medical Association, Baptist Care South Australia and Metropolitan Domiciliary Care for so many years. Congratulations to him.

In the time that I have left, I would like to touch on the debate we are having around Australia Day at the moment. Every year, there seem to be more and more calls for the date of Australia Day to be changed. For some parts of the community, I can see why this argument is held. We live in such a diverse and wonderful country. For me and, I think, for so many Australians, it truly is a day when we can all come together, a day when we can recognise our past—and not all our past has been beautiful. I think that it is also important for us to recognise and continue to discuss, debate and acknowledge the past sins of our nation.

It is also a wonderful opportunity to get together on Australia Day and celebrate so much that is good and the wonderful Australians in our community, the everyday Australians who go about making a fantastic contribution. I think that is the most important thing we have to celebrate on Australia Day. Aboriginal elder Robert Issacs recently said, and I quote: It [Australia Day] brings the community together, it brings the Australian people together and it celebrates the good this country has provided for everyone.

As we celebrate and go on in the year 2019, it is always important to celebrate what is so good in our country. Once again, I would like to congratulate those local champions in my community who have made Waite and the Mitcham council area such a wonderful place to live.