Parliament Updates

Zali Steggall MP speaks on the Centenary of Rotary

24 June, 2021


I rise today to congratulate Rotary for 100 years of service to the people of Australia. In this centenary year, Rotary has 30,000 members across more than 1,000 local clubs. I'm very proud of the fact that five of those clubs are in Warringah: Rotary Club of Mosman, Rotary Club of Manly, Balgowlah Rotary, the Rotary Club of Dee Why Warringah and Brookvale Rotary. I will come to the work of each of those clubs shortly, but at this stage I want to acknowledge the 50 years of community service provided by members of the Rotary Club of Frenchs Forrest. Sadly, this club wound up and handed back its charter just last month, which is incredibly sad, but I thank those members for their service over the last five decades.

We all acknowledge that the work of Rotary nationally and internationally is well known, perhaps most notably for their incredible dedication to their goal to eradicate polio from the world, but I'd like to use my time to focus on the incredible and much-valued work of local clubs. We know that there are so many acts of service that these wonderful Rotarians do in our communities, but I will highlight just a few for the House.

I recently had the tremendous honour of joining the Rotary club of Mosman, I recently had the honour of joining them for their presentation of Living for Climate Champion awards. The Rotary Club of Mosman is leading the way. The project asked Rotarians and the general community to make simple changes in their lives that will reduce their impact on the climate and emissions. I would again like to congratulate the winners, who collectively pledged to save more than 75,000 kilos of carbon from their everyday activities.

The Rotary Club of Manly is another incredibly active club in our local community. It is probably most famous for its annual Manly fun run, which has raised over $1½ million for local charities over the last decade or so. On behalf of those many charities groups that receive that generous support, I say a huge thank you.

Balgowlah Rotary is also incredibly active. Local charities, schools and businesses have very much benefited from their tremendous work. This club has a particular emphasis on youth, providing support and mentoring to two local high schools: Balgowlah Boys Campus and Mackellar Girls Campus. They support the youth business weeks and youth science challenges in those schools and fund students from the schools to attend numerous initiatives such as the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness program.

We also have the Rotary Club of Dee Why Warringah, which is very famous for organising our thong-throwing contest at a Dee Why Beach every Australia Day, but I'd also like to highlight their wonderful work with the Pride of Workmanship Awards, where they recognise people who go above and beyond in their workplace and in the community.

Finally, Brookvale Rotary for almost three decades have been running the ever-popular Pub2Pub event, but it is being relaunched this year and now will be the Beach2Beach charity fun run to reflect the true family character and scenic location of this iconic event. I'm proud to be an ambassador of this charity fun run and I encourage many of my parliamentary colleagues to join up if you're up in the beaches. It will be on 22 August—COVID permitting, of course. I have participated in the Beach2Beach at various times, and it actually finishes in the member for Mackellar's electorate. Hopefully, we will see him running as well.

I think it's really important that the COVID pandemic has shown just how important the community service work from so many organisations really is. The pandemic, the lockdowns and, sadly, the current outbreak that is now impacting Sydney hit clubs—especially Rotary clubs—very hard. It means the clubs aren't able to meet. It means they're depriving members of that really important social interaction. But it also really severely impacts on their ability to engage in all of their traditional fundraising events, especially the sausage sizzles, the trivia nights and selling raffle tickets at local shopping centres. They have shown incredible innovation and creativity, though, in these difficult times. They've learnt to show up on Zoom. They've done so many other things. They've done virtual cocktail parties. One local club even organised a project to collect verbal histories from elderly residents in isolation in order to keep them occupied and pass on their local stories to new generations. Thank you so much to all those Rotary clubs in Warringah for their amazing work.