Legislative Council: Wednesday, September 28, 2022



The Hon. S.L. GAME (16:35): I move:

That this council acknowledges the importance of philanthropy and community service to our society, and recognises the philanthropic and charitable endeavours of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Philanthropy is the giving of money, time, goods and services, information, voice or influence for the betterment of society and humanity. It is in this way that I wish to pay honour to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and reflect upon her impact on the philanthropic and community service sectors. With privilege comes a responsibility to give back to the best of one's ability. Queen Elizabeth demonstrated this unwaveringly throughout her long reign. Admired for her generosity, empathy, humour, kindness and diligence, I thank her for being a role model to the world.

I would like to acknowledge her philanthropy and commitment to the non-profit sector. The Queen was a patron to over 600 charitable services and good causes. In all her public duties, she demonstrated that those with ample means are well placed to assist those who are actively pursuing making the world a better place. Such support for the not-for-profit sector is commendable.

In a 2022 survey, 25 per cent of UK respondents suggested they may not have heard of a particular charity or supported them had it not been for royal patronage. A 2012 evaluation by a charity sector research group estimated that Her Majesty was responsible for raising $1.4 billion Great British pounds in the first 60 years of her reign as the Queen. The visibility Her Majesty afforded to a broad range of groups cannot be underestimated. As one organisation that was fortunate to benefit from Her Majesty's patronage put it:

The Queen, through her faith, led by example. In carrying out her royal duties with grace and dignity she has been a symbol of inspiration for many both within the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and in many other countries.

She was an excellent role model for us in this chamber with a position of responsibility to our community. I do not expect my colleagues in this place to support over 600 charities and not-for-profit groups over the course of 70 years of uninterrupted service; Her Majesty was exemplary. My inference is that we should all do what we can, when we can, to help those without a voice trying to make a difference.

Not everyone is blessed with an equal start in life, but to rely on government to fix everything is not a realistic expectation. Those of us with privilege must take ownership of our responsibility to give back. We all need to find causes that work with our skill sets, means and interests, whether that be homelessness, education, environment, mental health, sports or the arts—anything in our community that makes South Australia a thriving society in which to live.

In South Australia, our peak body for volunteering, Volunteering SA/NT, notes the unfortunate decline of volunteering in our community over the past few years. They recognise the need to reinvigorate volunteering, modernise it, so that many more can participate. There are several contributing factors possibly affecting participation: people working longer and not retiring into community service; the COVID factor, with many people minimising face-to-face community contact; the continued rise of dual parents working; and people having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, resulting in less free time to give back.

We should still be proud that, in a state of 1.8 million people, 50 per cent, or over 900,000, have volunteered at least once within the last year, according to Volunteering SA/NT figures. The value of that volunteering is estimated at over $5 billion to our state.

As for the philanthropic sector, South Australia is home to 3,311 charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. These organisations employ approximately 95,000 South Australians in paid work and support many thousands more as volunteers. These registered charities accounted for $341 million in donations in 2021.

The generosity of South Australians is evident, despite the tough times many are currently facing. Many charities and organisations across South Australia could not operate without support. The existence of the recently opened Carrington Cottages, a 26-bed emergency accommodation facility for rough sleepers in Adelaide, would not have been possible without an anonymous donor matching the $1.2 million secured funding for the project.

It is imperative that young people are educated in the importance of giving back. Many schools offer volunteer opportunities for students to engage with their local communities. This helps to foster philanthropy within our young people. Our youth need to understand that not all children are given an equal start in life, and it is important to raise each other up.

Families may often engage in acts of community service together through their local place of worship, community sport or recreation club, CFS or SES location or other neighbourhood endeavour. If you look back far enough, you will note that our state was founded on philanthropy, in an era where no government handouts existed and the community helped each other for the betterment and at times, survival, of the colony. Large or small, every one of us can and should make a difference. It is our duty to contribute to the continuous improvement of South Australia. We need not rely on hefty, overbearing government if we contribute appropriately where we see need and purpose.

Queen Elizabeth II was an incredible woman, and I give my condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and his family. I thank those South Australians who have the opportunity to contribute to our community through the means of service or philanthropy.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.