Page 4776 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005
people involved and enhances participation and interaction between members of our community; it fosters social networks, trust and cooperation.
One of the key goals of this government’s Canberra social plan is to recognise and support the role played by volunteers, because of the benefits to both the volunteer and the community. It connects us with our community and is an investment in the wellbeing of our society. For young people, volunteering leads to new experiences and contact with a diverse range of people in the community; it helps to establish connections with the community and the paid work force—beyond the family and the school. In fact, it can often lead to a paid job. I saw this happen many times when I was the CEO of Volunteering ACT. That is one of the reasons that organisations experience a high turnover of voluntary staff.
Volunteering is also a way for retired members of our community to remain active and continue to be participating members of the community. Those who are retired often report that volunteering provides a sense of purpose that might be missing after leaving the paid work force. The benefits volunteering offers are increased self-esteem, better health, a sense of achievement, increased social contact, or simply knowing you have made a difference.
Research shows that volunteers over the age of 55 doing 20 hours or less of voluntary work per week are among the happiest people in Australia—if not the happiest. Being happy also enhances one’s chance of remaining healthy, so it would appear that volunteering contributes to good health, particularly for those who are getting older. We should therefore encourage and support members of our community to volunteer throughout their lives, as we can see that there are benefits for everybody.
The ACT government’s vision for volunteering in the future is one in which all people in the community are supported in their efforts to participate as volunteers in the life of Canberra. This includes overcoming the barriers facing participation by people with disabilities, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, people on low incomes, and young people. Perhaps it will be better if we remember every day the contribution volunteers make to our lives and not remember it just once a year.
Dr Kevin Donnelly
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.35): Firstly, I would like to compliment you, Mr Speaker, on your assiduous application of the standing orders when I stood to seek leave earlier under standing order 47. As I was saying the words, I realised that there was no question before the house. Whilst I hoped you would not notice, I offer congratulations for the fact that you did notice.
Today, for the second time, Ms MacDonald has risen in this place in a debate on education and said—this is only a rough quote—that I had quoted Dr Kevin Donnelly and then gone on to say a whole lot of things about Dr Kevin Donnelly. I put the challenge out to Ms MacDonald that, if she can find a Hansard reference where I have quoted Dr Donnelly, I will eat a photocopy of the page of Hansard—not a page from the bound copy. I undertake to do that. I am pretty sure I have never quoted Dr Donnelly. Ms MacDonald seems to be fixated by Dr Donnelly. I think she needs to get it out of her