MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.21): I rise this evening to acknowledge a special birthday in our community. Last Wednesday, 16 October 2013, marked the first birthday of Ronald McDonald House Canberra. A solace for families during difficult times, Ronald McDonald House Canberra provides a home away from home for those with critically ill children when they find themselves seeking refuge. It is a safe haven for families to ensure they can focus on the most important things. It alleviates any stress involved with organising food and accommodation while being only a few moments away from their children.
The last 12 months have been unquestionably successful for the house. Accommodation and support have been provided to hundreds of people over the year, some for just one night and others for much longer. The house is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so no matter what time of the day or night you might need this home, it is there.
For anyone who comes into contact with Ronald McDonald House there is no doubt in their mind that the success of this organisation is driven by some of the remarkable staff and volunteers who dedicate countless hours to this cause. They include Deirdre Brown, Caroline McIntyre, Marnie Murrell, Lorren Hyde, Narelle Casey and Jan Murphy, who work tirelessly to ensure that the house is the welcoming and comfortable environment that it is so well known for.
However, the task of having this house operational 24/7 is no mean feat and could not be done with these people alone. It would not be possible without the many invaluable volunteers. The tasks are rarely glamorous and can involve anything from cleaning bathrooms, remaking rooms, keeping the kitchen tidy, cooking and generally helping around the house, to talking with residents and visitors.
So this afternoon I would like to pay tribute to the Ronald McDonald House Canberra volunteers, including Sue Leonard, Elena Moon, Lorna Gordon, Kelli Youngs, Kay and Roger Harrison, Debbie Stevens, Theresa Dale, Pat Reid, Lorraine Palmer, Jimmy Chen, Dawn Manning, Mavis Comer, Kaitlin Reedy, Cheryl Sorahan, Wendy Bullock, Briony Clerean, Ross-Lyn Filmer, Maddy Carolan, Colleen Mays, Richard Holmes, Brooke Ellis, Sara Bicker, Michelle Kuzek, Margaret Napier, Bella Rogers, Elizabeth Tracey, Rachel Corey, Pam Arnott, Holly Haling, Harriet McIntosh, Kristen Mahoney, Mary Mond, Judith Stibohar, Margaret Oliver, Jenny Dent, Sandra Nelson, Briony Glerean, Rose Anderson, Jing-Ting Chan, Kevin Smith, Carole Boreham, Diane Knox, Jo Mond, Elizabeth Lockett, Karen Buick, Ruth Page, Shona Tidswell, Sam Ning, Mitchell Strachan, Janet Piddington, Gloria Gardiner, Rosemary Malone, Brett Folkard, Jeanette Dent, Gill Thorne, Jess Willis, Daniel Nguyen, Vicki Carn, Barry Crozier, Rebecca Bollinger, Cathy Rouland, the Cummin Family, Sarita Amarathithada and Dan Mawbey. The house would not be able to do what it does without these people.
Finally, I must note that this service, like many in our community, relies so heavily on donations and fundraising. So should you have an opportunity to buy a raffle ticket, attend the ball or even buy a big mac on McHappy Day, I encourage you to do so to ensure this organisation can continue successfully into the future.