Page 4003 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 15 Sept 2009

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the Greens and John Hargreaves from the Labor Party. I would also like to thank some of the following people who attended and who assisted in this: Megan Barons; Mike and Deborah Desmond; Sarah, Robert and Kate Davis; Maureen, Amy, Adam and Annette Doszpot; Tio Faulkner; John Hillier; Chris Inglis; George Lemon; Colleen McInerny; Albert Orszaczky; Haylee Snowdon; Janica Spiteri; Lorenzo Van Der Kley; and Jacinta Van Meurs.

Last night I also attended a fundraising function organised by Pierre Johannessen, the CEO of the Big Bang Ballers, and his committee. They are members of an international NGO using the game of basketball to fight youth poverty and social disadvantage world wide. This particular fundraiser was to raise $11,000 for the Big Bangs school and orphanage camps in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan.

As shadow minister for sport and recreation, multicultural affairs, education, and disability, I am fortunate to constantly meet people with energy, vision, enthusiasm, motivation and a mission to help those in need. One of the people who best typify all these qualities is Pierre Johannessen, with his dedicated committee and friends of Big Bang Ballers.

Last night’s function at the Tongue and Groove was emceed by local media personality Mr Lachlan Kennedy and it attracted a large, enthusiastic crowd of young people—enthusiastic about their sport, basketball, and enthusiastic and generous in their support of this initiative that utilises the power of the game of basketball to fight youth poverty and social disadvantage worldwide.

One of the great inspirational figures that I admire is Nelson Mandela, who made some very interesting and accurate observations about the power of sport in general. He said:

Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else can. Sport can create hope, sport breaks down racial barriers … Sport laughs in the face of discrimination and, perhaps, most importantly, it speaks to people in a language they can understand.

Sport, whatever the code—but in particular sports like basketball, and football for that matter, which have crossed most of the national boundaries—provides an opportunity for everyone to be on an equal footing. Basketball, in this instance, provides the vehicle for Big Bangs to do their work, fighting youth poverty and social injustice. The skills are universal and the same skill set is needed wherever you happen to live. Whether you are a young person that hails from the slums of Bangladesh or a young person from the higher socioeconomic suburbs of Dhaka, both are equal on a basketball court.

I commend the Big Bangs for their generosity.

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MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women) (4.47): I have spoken several times in

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