Speech - Launch Of The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal 2011




"Launch Of The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal 2011"




It's a great honour and privilege to be here with you all this morning to support the life-changing work that is performed by the Salvation Army.

It is all too easy, particularly when we do have – in terms of all of our numbers and so on – a very prosperous economy, to forget that there are many people living lives that very tough. That our great prosperity doesn't necessarily pass through to every postcode or to every individual.

It was truly inspiring to listen to Commissioner Ray Finger to talk about the work of William Booth, because the work of William Booth reminds of this fundamental fact and that is we are all the weaker when one of us falls behind. And the things that we do together are the things that make us strong. And through history, it has been the Salvation Army that has always been there to remind us about people who fall behind, about people who do it tough. Whether it is in a war zone, whether it is in the park at Carlton, whether it is simply helping out at the local hospital, the one image, the one enduring image that all Australians have is that the Salvos are always there.

One of the things that made us proudest about our country earlier this year was the response of Australia to the natural disasters in Queensland and in Victoria, in particular, but also the bushfires in Western Australia. I never thought I would see a mobilisation of our community the likes of which we saw earlier this year - not just the Salvation Army or our great church and charitable organisations, but a whole new army of people who have probably never volunteered before in their lives at all.

And I thought to myself what a splendid opportunity for our country – a new generation of volunteers coming forward, a new generation who had not previously thought about necessarily getting out there and doing the voluntary work. And I thought to myself if we can show this sort of response in these circumstances, how can we tap into this move, this sentiment, particularly among younger generations, and marshal it for all of the great tasks we have before us, the kinds of tasks the Salvation Army performs not just when there's a cyclone that blows through, a flood in a particular area, or a war zone.

The continuing task that comes with dealing with those people who through no fault of their own - or perhaps through fault of their own, it doesn't matter - the continuing task that we all have to perform in picking up those people who do fall behind, and if we don't do that we are all the poorer for it.

Because even though, as John said before, we are a prosperous economy, which is the envy of the developed world, one that is creating jobs, that prosperity doesn't stretch to every postcode as we heard from Sheree before. And whether people are the subject of misfortune, or whether they are the victims of entrenched social and economic disadvantage, whatever the reason that somebody falls behind, we must be there to pick them up, and that's why the work of the Salvos is so important.

There is a lot of competition around at the moment for the charity dollar, but we can't let the important work of organisations like the Salvos and many others - which has a need every day of every month of every year - fall behind. That's why particularly this year, the Red Shield Appeal is so important. It's great to see so many corporates represented here today because the other thing that I saw during the floods and the cyclones was corporate Australia really put their shoulder to the wheel. Not just in terms of immediate corporate donations, but also in terms of in-kind assistance.

This morning I urge you to redouble your efforts and get behind the Salvos for this Red Shield Appeal, not just in terms of straight out monetary support but also a continuance of that great in-kind support when the business community can do great work on the ground with organisations like the Salvos solving those entrenched long-term social and economic problems that see too many Australians fall behind.

Whether it is homelessness, whether it's associated with mental illness, whether it is caused by unemployment or a lack of skills, whether it comes from a family breakup that comes from domestic violence, whatever its cause - if we're there to pick up those people when they fall behind we are all the wealthier and all the richer for that experience. And I think that's what William Booth was talking about and put at the very core of the fantastic diagram we were looking at before.

We in Australia are at very unique time in our history. Great prosperity lies before us. We have the opportunity to show the world that we can merge a really prosperous economy with a fair society that picks up people when they fall behind and gives them the capacity to look after themselves and stand on their own two feet.

I know as I move around the globe in the last three or four months, we as a nation made an enduring impression on developed and developing economies in the way in which we handled our response to the floods and the cyclones. When I was in the United States people constantly remarked about the difference between what had occurred here and what occurred there in similar events.

We have the opportunity in the 21st century to show people of the world that we can mix economic prosperity, a competitive economy with a fair society that picks all of our people up and gives them a share in the bounty of our country. And at the core of that is the work that are great church and charitable organisations, working with our corporate community, and working with our governments.

I'm pleased to announce this morning, there'll be a contribution of $350,000 from the Federal Government to the Red Shield Appeal and I hope that makes a difference along with all of the contributions of all of you in this room today. Working with the Salvos is one way of making our country a much better and a fairer place. Please donate generously.

Thank you.