Good morning I’m delighted to be here with Tanya Plibersek, with the head of Red Cross Robert Tickner and friends of Red Cross Australia.
We are here, fortunately inside and not outside, on a crisp Canberra morning to pledge our support for Australian Red Cross, to congratulate the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Red Cross on their first anniversary and to thank Senator Milne, Bruce Scott, Graham Perrett and Jane Prentice for their work as co-conveners and also ensuring that over 100 Members and Senators are within that group the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Red Cross and also to encourage people to donate blood for Australian Red Cross.
Around the world Red Cross is known as embodying the better aspects of humanity and whenever the world’s attention is focussed on the violence or harm or a crisis or destruction, the Red Cross will be there reflecting the better angels of humankind. Its famed symbol is universally recognised and its staff and volunteers are all part of a higher calling providing support and assistance for those in need. Australia has its share of natural disasters each and every year whether it be fire, or flood, or cyclones and the Red Cross is always there. We recall very well in 2011 as the floods were ravaging the Queensland countryside that volunteers and trained staff from Red Cross were there assisting – about 1400 staff were in Queensland and provided support and relief to about 15,000 people through the evacuation centres.
So today is our opportunity to give support to the Red Cross in return for the support that they give to Australians.
As Tanya indicated, you never know when you or your family and friends will have need for a blood transfusion or a blood product. As school holidays start we are concerned about road accidents and sadly there is a need for blood products during the busy times of the year on our roads. Also cancer patients, people with blood disease, surgical patients, those going through open heart surgery or burns patients all have a need for blood. When you think of the need for 27,000 donations each week just to ensure a sufficient supply you can understand why we are launching this appeal today.
Now I know that Parliament House is metaphorically known as a place where a lot of blood is spilled, today literally we can give a lot of blood, so I encourage everyone to roll up their sleeves and give blood to the Australian Red Cross.