Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5051 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
The one thing that all schools have in common is a significant reliance on parental input, and I want to pay tribute to those parents who contribute in this way-disproportionately mothers who do not work full time; and quite a lot of fathers and mothers who do. They run raffles and garden stalls and paint-a-plaster fun stalls. They coach football and netball teams; they teach music and drama; and they drive their children and other children around the city and beyond. I add to that the large number of teachers whose weekends are often busman's holidays-and quite literally they are often busmen.
At Marist and Merici colleges, which most of my children attended, skiing became possible and affordable for a large number of students because teachers, parents and former students gave up their weekends, donated their time and provided food, accommodation and transport. They were responsible for enabling my children and others to get to the snow and then they provided them with free training. All over Canberra on any weekend there are parents, teachers and members of the public providing services to their schools and, through that, to the community.
Last night I attended a concert run by the Miles Franklin primary school's music program. Again, teachers and parents gave up their time on an unpaid basis to organise an event that brings joy to the lives of the students. Events such as these remind students that there is more to education than the most important areas of vocational preparation, literacy and numeracy. The pride from seeing their children perform at the concert brought a lump to the throats of the assembled throng of parents and grandparents.
Last weekend I attended the Miles Franklin fete. I am something of a connoisseur of fetes, having run jam stalls, sausage sizzles and other things at more fetes than I care to number. Mr Speaker, let me tell you that the French food cafe run by the French class and their parents and teachers was a tour de force.
Mr Speaker, what we are talking about here is what I like to call small "v"volunteering. Sometimes this sort of volunteering is forgotten when we think about the slightly higher profile of formal volunteering, which we often do when we talk about the volunteering sector. We should not focus too narrowly and we should not forget the people who give up their time every day.
There are lots of things that we can talk about in the area of volunteering. On Sunday, along with other members of this place, I was privileged to attend the three monkeys race at Lake Tuggeranong organised by Sailability. I enjoyed the race between politicians and the media, even though the media undoubtedly cheated-how else could they have won the race after we took the pin out of their rudder?
Members, when we were there I came across many people who really get a buzz out of volunteering and helping disabled people. I took time to talk to a number of volunteers, who told me about the reward they receive, which is the look on the faces of disabled children and their parents when they see what their children are really capable of.
I was told of their proposals for money-raising ventures, which for vision and imagination would have done credit to any boardroom in this town. And all of this is done so that they can pay rent-yes, Mr Speaker, rent to the ACT government to help them provide this service. We should be looking at whether it is reasonable that an