Mar 5, 2015

2015 Holt Australia Day Awards Speech – 5 March 2015

I want to talk about a group of exceptional people I honoured on Australia Day. Thirty outstanding individuals and eight local organisations were commended for their contribution to our community at the Day of Nations celebrations in Hampton Park, which is an integral part of our Australia Day award celebrations in Holt.

They deserve to be named in this place. They are: Casey Lowen, Charles Geriesi, David Esmore, Debra Jackson, Elizabeth Watson, Erin Wallace, Glenda Colthurst, senior pastors Graham and Julie Shand, Helen Evans, Jake Downward, Jason Sadler, Jennifer Corcoris and Elizabeth McLennan, John Bell, Reverand John McMahon, Pastor Julie Ohlson, Margaret Luxford, Mark Haughton, Maryann D’Costa, Ni Tec Leong, Pastor Norman Cayzer, Norman McLennan, Inspector Paul Breen, Sebit Tot, Sima Mohammadzayee, TeHeapera Nikora, Tim Howell, Vincent Manno, Vitali Lashkariov, Casey Regional Veterans’ Welfare Centre, Dandenong Emir Sultan Mosque, Inner Wheel of Cranbourne, Kane’s Crusade—Fawn Brady and Jessica White, Kalgidhar Sports and Cultural Association, One Vision Aid, South Eastern Region Oromo Community members—Sinke Wesho, Biftu Gutama and Abdeta Hanna and Vision of Hope.

We know that with a high-profile Australian of the Year there is a wonderful commemoration and celebration of that which makes our country great. Holt Australia Day awards are to honour local community members who go above and beyond to make their community a better place to live and work and to make the community a safer place in many ways.

You can see there is a broad diversity of people mentioned there. One of the great strengths of our region is that it is very diverse and fast growing with a lot of young families shifting out and making the region their home. I wish I could give you individual stories—I am not able to with the time remaining, but each of those people have an amazing story behind them. They are people like the Casey Regional Veterans Welfare Centre. The work they do, particularly for returned veterans—including our veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq—is quite amazing. They are right at the coalface.

There is Kane’s Crusade, with Fawn Brady and Jessica White. Fawn had lost her brother to suicide a number of years ago. He was a very young man. In dealing with her grief she channelled it into trying to assist others and prevent youth suicide in our region, which has been a major problem. Vison of Hope is a group of young men of Afghan background who want to make a contribution to the Australian community. They are doing wonderful works with young men and young women in the region.

There are so many different regions stories I could tell. I was honoured to honour them on Australia Day for the contribution they make to our community.

 

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