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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 578 ..


virus, we need to remember that other viruses have spread and continue to spread death and fear around the world.

In 1978 Rotary was a pioneer in the fight against polio. It started with a very ambitious goal to reach a polio-free world. Polio is caused by poliovirus, a serious disease that can lead to long-term disability, paralysis and death. Most people recover completely but a small number experience muscle and nerve damage that results in lifelong disability.

In Australia there were major polio epidemics in the late 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The last epidemic was in 1956. During the height of the polio epidemic, in parts of Australia state borders, schools, pools and theatres closed. Travel restrictions and quarantine measures were introduced. Sounds familiar! Polio vaccines were introduced in Australia in 1956 and were followed by mass immunisation programs, and Australia has been officially polio free since 2000. It is estimated that a minimum of 20,000 to 40,000 people had paralytic polio in Australia between the 1930s and 1960s. The number of people infected with the virus was between two million and four million Australians.

As a part of the decades-long, ongoing fight to eradicate polio from the world, last year the Rotary Club of Canberra-Weston Creek had a fundraiser with the “World’s Greatest Meal to End Polio” and they raised approximately $US500, which has contributed to part of the $3,720,000 raised worldwide—which is enough for 18,600,000 vaccines.

Eradication of polio is just one of Rotary’s longstanding and significant efforts. Along with their international partners, Rotary have helped immunise more than 2.5 billion children against polio. Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent worldwide. Today only two countries remain polio endemic, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Rotary is a non-political, non-religious humanitarian organisation that brings the highest and most noble ideas of service to all peoples around the globe. I support this Assembly’s acknowledgement of the achievements and service by Rotary and Rotarians over the past century. I thank Michael Moore and all our local district Rotarians for their continued service to Canberra, the Rotary district and people around the world.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.39): I thank the minister for his statement today and for his detail on the work Rotarians are doing here in the ACT, particularly to support emergency services personnel. I also extend warm congratulations on behalf of the ACT Greens MLAs to Rotary on this very significant anniversary. As Mr Hanson has outlined in his remarks, Rotary International, from its very early days, has had tremendous reach across the globe. By the time it formally launched in Australia, on 21 April 1921, the organisation already had 80,000 members in the United States, Canada and Britain. Now it has more than 1.2 million worldwide, grouped in 35,000 different clubs.

I am struck by the words of Paul Harris, Rotary’s founder, who originally envisaged a friendship group for professionals but who soon saw, along with other early members,


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