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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 549 ..

Mon families have made a new home in Canberra, with younger members of the community born and raised here as Canberrans with a proud Mon cultural inheritance. I am grateful they share their culture with us in many ways, including at our annual National Multicultural Festival and other cultural events. The Mon are a very welcome part of Canberra’s proud and vibrant multicultural community.

Heart Foundation ACT

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (6.42): Last Friday I was among over 300 attendees at the Heart Foundation ACT’s 2015 fundraiser, the Hearts of Valour Ball at the Hyatt Hotel. The patron of the Heart Foundation ACT, Richard Rolfe OAM, welcomed the guests and explained the theme of the night: the celebration of bravery and recognition of some of Australia’s most courageous citizens—in this case, our five Cross of Valour recipients: Darrell Tree CV, Victor Boscoe CV, Allan Sparkes CV, Timothy Britten CV, and Richard Joyes CV. The commemorative program referred to “bravery being a deliberate choice: to go from a place of safety to danger or remain in a perilous position to provide help”. It said, “The Cross of Valour, Australia’s highest award for bravery, is awarded for acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.”

During the night we heard about these incredible acts of bravery under circumstances of extreme peril from five very humble individuals whose personal stories and courage had to be coaxed from them by the very capable MC, Ray Martin. Ray had to draw on all his years of interviewing techniques to get these wonderful heroes to open up and share their stories of courage with us.

The hearts of valour event also included recognition of the living Victoria Cross recipients—Keith Payne VC, OAM; Mark Donaldson VC; Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG; and Daniel Keighran VC—and also George Cross recipient Michael Pratt GC.

I thought Dame Quentin Bryce’s description of the night as a “nationally significant event” and Major General the Hon Michael Jeffery’s comment of “a remarkably historical evening” summed up the unique event that it was.

Credit must go to the Heart Foundation ACT patron, Richard Rolfe, and his wife, Debbie, for their incredible organisation and effort and the inspiration to get all these people in the one place at the one time. To have four Victoria Cross recipients, five Cross of Valour recipients and one George Cross recipient, people who are also Australia’s 10 diamond jubilee medallists, all on stage together, and then to have Doug Baird, father of Cameron Baird VC, welcomed on stage to represent his son, Australia’s 100th Victoria Cross recipient, who paid the ultimate sacrifice last year, was one of the most inspirational highlights for many of us on the night. Other highlights on the night were inspirational speeches from Major General the Hon Michael Jeffery, the Hon Dame Quentin Bryce, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, Keith Payne VC, and Ben Roberts-Smith VC. A moving letter from former Prime Minister John Howard was read by Hugh Riminton.

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