Showing posts from May, 2011

Speech at launch of Australian Volunteers for International Development

26 May 2011, Parliament House

Walking into a room full of Australian volunteers preparing for deployment is a great lesson in tempering preconceptions and avoiding stereotypes.  It’s easy to imagine all volunteers being of the same ilk; ultra-progressive, left wing, vegetarian…  I am joking of course, but I do note that several of you nodded in agreement as I said that.  I admit that I had that image firmly planted in my head as I walked in to my first briefing session, wondering frantically if I would fit in with the group that was already there.
Here’s the extraordinary, powerful side of Australian culture that too often goes unnoticed by even our own people.  Lending a hand to one’s neighbor isn’t a chore, a monumental gathering of effort.  For Australians, it’s just a part of who we are.  In that room and in so many rooms I have been in since that moment, I was privileged to be swept away by the diversity of people representing their country, representing my country, who were prepar…