Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 16, 2022


Legacy Week

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. L.A. Curran:

That this council—

1. Notes that Legacy Week was held from 28 August until 3 September 2022;

2. Acknowledges the work of Legacy and their volunteers who support the families of our veterans; and

3 Recognises the sacrifices that our veterans and their families make when they serve in our Defence Force.

(Continued from 3 November.)

The Hon. S.L. GAME (00:36): One Nation recognises the important and vital work performed by Legacy Australia in supporting our military veterans and their families. Legacy Week provides an opportunity for the Australian people to show their appreciation for our veterans and their families' sacrifices. They have kept our borders safe and our treasured values of freedom and democracy intact. The families left behind require financial, social and health support, which Legacy valuably provides.

I have previously highlighted the need for military personnel with high suicide risks to receive prompt support through an earlier motion on veteran mental health. One Nation resonates with Legacy's values of mateship, compassion and fairness. The honourable member has my support for her motion.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (00:37): I rise this morning to speak in support of the motion of the Hon. Laura Curran in recognising the significance of Legacy Week for our Australian veterans and their families. As a legatee myself and as a partner of a former servicemen of Iraq in my husband, David, I am honoured to stand in the Legislative Council today and speak on a motion which resonates with the families of those who gave so much to our country.

During November 1918, a little over 100 years ago, Australia started the repatriation process to help our courageous troops return and resettle back into our communities after a series of serious conflicts in Gallipoli, Palestine, France and Flanders, which were fought by our service men and women to preserve global peace during World War I.

By the concluding stages of World War I, over 416,000 Australians had enlisted to fight, with a staggering 60,000 killed and more than 150,000 wounded, many passing soon after. Whilst the result of Australia's efforts contributed towards Allied victory, thousands of families had sons, fathers, husbands and other family members alike return wounded or not return at all.

It became apparent to Australian Army officer General Sir John Gellibrand upon his return to Australia in 1923 that the lack of support for widows and children of Australian troops was insufficient and thus created the Hobart Remembrance Club. Inspired by Gellibrand, returned Lieutenant General Sir Stanley Savige created his own club in Melbourne named Legacy.

In just under 100 years since Legacy's foundation, the Legacy group has provided service and support to families of veterans who have fought in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq and have consistently recognised the sacrifices made by veterans and their families when they have served our nation.

Today, there are 44 Legacy branches Australia-wide taking on the commitment to provide services to 43,000 veteran families through a greater access to medical and financial support for families doing it tough, battling the detriment of loneliness and isolation by providing social connection services to families, and nurturing the development of children through a strong commitment to education, with an additional boost through grants and scholarships, mentorships and extracurricular activities.

Each year, Legacy holds its annual Legacy Week appeal. The appeal encourages Australians of all walks of life to come together and provide support to widows and children whose loved ones have served to protect our country, by providing the same stability, guidance and assistance that a partner would normally provide to their family.

Sold throughout Legacy Week, the badge behind the Little Badge: Big Impact motto used by Legacy refers to the iconic torch and wreath of laurel. This emblem is used to signify the undying flame of service and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for our country. The timing of this motion could not be more appropriate, with Remembrance Day, a day on which we pause to remember those who died or suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflict, being last Friday.

I strongly encourage everyone to give back to such a worthy cause that is Legacy Week. It is the kind-hearted nature of Legacy's fundraising donors and the tireless work from Legacy's 3,600 daily volunteers that allow Legacy to provide veteran families with release from financial hardship, social connection services and equal developmental opportunities.

I recognise that no amount of support will be enough to cope with the loss or injury of a loved one. However, Legacy provides an element of reassurance for troops and their families that they will not be alone during the worst possible scenarios. We recognise the sacrifices that our veterans and their families make when they serve in our Defence Force, and we acknowledge the work of Legacy and its volunteers who support the families of our veterans every day.

The Hon. L.A. CURRAN (00:41): I thank the Hon. Ms Game and the Hon. Ms Centofanti for their contributions to my motion and take a moment to recognise the sacrifices that our veterans and their families make every day when they choose to serve in our defence forces and choose to fight to protect our way of life and our freedoms. I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the important work that Legacy does. With that, I would like to commend this motion to the house.

Motion carried.