Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 6037..
At the time of the commissioner's original decision there was significant concern among the not-for-profit sector, the non-government sector, about the potential for their charitable status to be questioned because they participated in the political arena and agitated for change. The decision in this case is a win for the community and guarantees that organisations need not be concerned about their legitimate campaigns for change. The decision recognises the important contribution they make to the public discourse and ensures an appropriate protection for those organisations. I am pleased to inform the Legislative Assembly of that important case that has been decided in the High Court.
Australia's Helping Hand
MR COE (Ginninderra) (9.22): In my limited time tonight I rise to talk about Australia's Helping Hand, which is a charity that aims to help the disadvantaged in Vietnam. It estimates that there are over 5.3 million people in Vietnam who are currently in need of help. In particular, it works tirelessly to support orphans, the poor and elderly and victims of Agent Orange. Last year I was fortunate enough to become a patron of this important organisation and I am pleased to be able to assist them wherever I can, albeit sometimes in a small capacity. I share the patronage with Mary Porter and former member Bill Stefaniak.
The current efforts of Australia's Helping Hand include the building of an orphanage and shelter for the most vulnerable citizens in the district of An Duong, Hai Phong, in Vietnam's north. The shelter will provide accommodation for up to 55 people and seeks to provide them with the vital skills needed to live better lives. Additionally, Australia's Helping Hand, in partnership with the Vietnamese government, provides jobs and skills training for the local residents and provides a public health clinic open to everyone in the community.
I commend their latest fundraising efforts, which include a fundraising concert held in May and another just a couple of weeks ago held at the Revival Fellowship Hall in Belconnen. I also note that they have another three or so planned for the coming year.
The driving force behind the charity is the president, Ian Collard, who lives in Belconnen. Ian would be known to a number of members in this place, and to many Canberrans, as a person of great dedication and commitment to the cause. I would like to acknowledge the president, Ian Collard; his executive, Cheryl Parsons, Jenny Baker and Glenn Parsons; and the other committee members, including Lee Pilon, Conny Elhers, Bob Winchester, Debbie Fox and Stephen Dixon-Jain.
Finally, I would like to give a plug for their new website, which I was notified about only 20 minutes ago. It is www.ahh.org.au. It is a great website which will help make the organisation known to far more people right across the world.
I commend Ian and the team for the great work they do in and around Canberra to help those in Vietnam.