Page 1867 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 4 May 2011

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pleasure to join Pastor Sid Griffith, other church elders and the rest of the congregation in celebrating her wonderful 100 years.

Mrs Skuja has a fascinating story. She was born in Latvia in 1911 and came to Australia soon after World War II. She was a dressmaker, and her clients in Canberra included the diplomatic corps, politicians and many prominent Canberra VIPs. In a Canberra Times article on 16 April there was an interesting story where she said that the daughter of then Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies “came to my door” and she was unable to help Heather Menzies with her wedding dress because she was so busy. Such was her commitment to her existing clients and the pride she took in her work that she would only take on jobs that she knew she could complete, and complete to the fine standard that she was renowned for.

Mrs Skuja was married for 51 years to Karlis Skuja. Sadly, he passed away in 1989. He too was a member of the congregation. Mrs Skuja is still very active as a keen gardener, particularly with vegetables and flowers, and she has a personal mission of trying to teach by example the younger generation, especially young married couples and their children, by inviting them to a Sabbath lunch and treating them with healthy and well-presented meals. She is a real role model to the congregation and to all she knows. I congratulate her on her 100 years and look forward to many more birthdays to come.

I would also like to put on the record my thanks to Professor Brian and Mrs Dianne Anderson, who hosted a fundraising event at their house in Red Hill on the weekend, on Sunday 1 May. The event, entitled “Help Japan”, was a charity concert in their garden, raising funds for the Australian Red Cross Japan and Pacific Disaster Appeal. I note that Ms Porter and Mr Hanson were also in attendance. It was a fantastic event. I am not sure how much money was raised in the end, but it was a significant amount. So I really do commend Dianne in particular for the many hours of work she put into that event.

The event included a concert in the garden, there was a book of condolence, there was an opportunity to hang a prayer message on a tree, there were kimono, origami and bonsai displays, and there was Japanese food on sale, in addition to a raffle. It was supported by the Australia-Japan Society.

Given that 400,000 people in Japan were made homeless by the recent tragedy, which is comparable to Canberra’s population, it does put into perspective the enormity of the situation and the challenges that Japan faces. So it was a pleasure to go there. I note that the Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency Mr Sato, was also in attendance. As I said, it was a pleasure to attend, and I thank all those who volunteered for making it the success that it was.

World Asthma Day

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (6.53): I would like to speak in support of World Asthma Day, which was on 3 May this week. As we know, asthma is very prevalent in Australia. I will just read out some figures which I think are quite relevant as to why we need to talk about asthma and particularly encourage people to manage the

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