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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1131..


Australian Red Cross

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.54): I rise tonight to help shine a light on an organisation that has been a big part of our community for 100 years now. This year marks the centenary of the Australian Red Cross. I had the pleasure of attending an event on Sunday as part of the Red Cross centenary in Australia.

The organisation started here as the Australian branch of the British Red Cross in 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers signed up during the war, and by World War II Red Cross had become Australia's largest charitable organisation. From what was at the time a population of only seven million people in Australia, nearly half a million were Red Cross members, most of them women.

In the post-war period Red Cross focused on social welfare, national emergencies, natural disasters, the blood bank and first-aid programs, which were sustained by the extensive branch network and thousands of volunteers.

Over the past decade Red Cross has been building an even stronger organisation which is forging partnerships with local communities to have a continuing positive impact for disadvantaged people in our society. Today there are one million Red Cross members—volunteers, donors, staff, blood donors, recipients and supporters—who make a positive difference to the lives of people in need every day.

The structure and on-the-ground activities may have changed over the past 100 years yet the humanitarian principles of the organisation retain a common thread which has endured. The Red Cross helps those most in need, whoever they are and wherever they are. Whether it is responding to the large scale disasters or tackling disadvantage and helping vulnerable children or supporting families facing personal crises, the Red Cross has set a clear and strong humanitarian course over the past 100 years.

We have seen the devastating floods in 1955 across New South Wales, Cyclone Tracy in 1974, the Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia in 1983, the Bali bombings in 2002, tsunamis and earthquakes in 2004, the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009, the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and the Queensland floods in 2011. The Australian Red Cross was there helping citizens both in Australia and around the world for as long as we can all remember.

The organisation was founded on an enduring spirit of volunteerism and generosity, and that continues as strong as ever today. I am proud to have volunteered for the Red Cross in the past. I pay my respects to all those in our community who have volunteered for the Red Cross over its history, and I acknowledge all those who have donated money to the Australian Red Cross regularly or just when they could afford it.

Last but not least, I acknowledge and pay my respects to all those who have worked on the ground and those who run this very successful and well-respected organisation. I hope everyone can acknowledge this is an organisation which has been a valuable


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