Riverina Electorate: Rotary Peace Community of Wagga Wagga

Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (4.58 pm)—Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of the declaration of Rotary district D9700 peace community of Wagga Wagga. The Rotarian who came up with the idea of Wagga Wagga being a peace community was Tony Quinlivan of the Kooringal club. His simple idea has today spawned 59 other peace communities in 17 countries. What a fantastic achievement, and what a marvellous ideal peace is.

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a special ceremony to commemorate this initiative which was conducted, appropriately, in Wagga Wagga’s Victory Memorial Gardens. This park honours the men and women of the district who have fought the good fight in the name of peace over the decades. Representatives from the city’s six Rotary clubs—South Wagga, Sunrise, Wollundry, Murrumbidgee, Kooringal and Wagga Wagga—were in attendance. 

Representatives of local high schools told a large gathering of the initiatives, including international awareness days and anti-bullying measures, being conducted in their schools to encourage peace. Awards to community members were also handed out. The recipients were Patricia Harrod, Detective Inspector Rod Smith, Carol Gordon, an anonymous person who is a Youth at Risk worker and Lex Bittar, a lifelong educational professional. To think that my home town was the first designated Rotary peace community in the world makes me feel extremely proud. May the idea spread even further, fostering friendship and hope the world over, and may the spirit of peace pervade the hearts and minds of all. 

The SPEAKER—Order! It being 5 pm, the debate is interrupted.

Cristy Houghton