Mr TONY ISSA
(Granville) [1.23 p.m.]: I acknowledge and support the Gallipoli Scholarship awards luncheon, which took place this year on 13 April 2012. I was honoured to be invited to this important event, which was held in my electorate and was organised by the Merrylands RSL Club. The scholarship is recognised by many people as an important stepping stone for young people who wish to enrol at a university. The Gallipoli Scholarship has its origins in the First World War Veterans Association of New South Wales, of which Bill Hall was the founder and patron. The Gallipoli Scholarship's first aim is to provide significant financial assistance to the most deserving and praiseworthy Australian applicants, who are resident in New South Wales or the Australian Capital Territory, to commence their first year of their first degree at a New South Wales or Australian Capital Territory university. The second aim of the scholarship is to achieve among Australians an understanding of those continuing traditions of determination, courage and self-sacrifice that were established so permanently in the cause for world peace at Gallipoli and thereafter on other battlefields after World War 1.
In World War II our soldiers at Milne Bay were the first to halt the advance on land of the Japanese Army. Bill Hall, OAM, BEM, who is the founder of the Gallipoli Scholarship, served in the battle of Milne Bay. A second component of the fund's activities is to provide a scholarship for descendants of World War II veterans. In 1997, the age of members of the association led the President, Mr Charles Mance—a life member of the Merrylands RSL Club—to propose that the accumulated fund of nearly $5,000 be donated to the newly formed Gallipoli Scholarship Fund Incorporated. The first two Gallipoli Scholarships were awarded in 1998. The value was then $2,000. Now, in 2012, the figure has escalated to $5,000 each, thanks to the dedicated work of the committee.
The New South Wales branch of the RSL, RSL sub-branches, RSL and Services clubs, the Department of Veterans' Affairs , companies and private citizens have supported the scholarship. The Merrylands RSL Sub Branch, the City of Sydney RSL Sub Branch, the Bondi Junction-Waverley RSL Sub Branch and the Gallipoli Memorial Club have been major sponsors. The Bill Hall Memorial Scholarship was borne out of a need to acknowledge the lifetime of work that Bill gave to the ex-services and veterans community. The tradition was continued at the Merrylands RSL Anzac luncheon to pay tribute to the World War I and World War II veterans. I wish to honour the achievements of the scholarship winners for 2012 and wish them well for the future.
Mr GREG SMITH
(Epping—Attorney General, and Minister for Justice) [1.28 p.m.]: I commend the contributions made by members in their statements. The member for Terrigal honoured Mary Macs Place, which is named after St Mary of the Cross, Saint Mary MacKillop. We heard that the centre provides beautifully cooked meals for disadvantaged people and offers other support services, including meals for the poor provided by local shopkeepers and merchants. The member for Myall Lakes honoured the work of the Taree branch of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and the important work carried out by the Rural Fire Service throughout the State, particularly the good work in the Taree area.
The member for Hawkesbury entertained us with his story of the Hawkesbury race meeting, the superb condition of the track and the more than 12,000 attendees at the recent meeting. He honoured a great horse trainer from the Hawkesbury area, Jack Paton, who recently died. It is wonderful to remember the people who make such a great contribution to their local area. The member for Lane Cove honoured the Markham family and its association with McDonald College—Mrs Margaret Markham is chairman of the McDonald Foundation—and commended their good work in promoting the arts, particularly for young people. The member for Charlestown reminded us of the important issue of prostate cancer. He commended the work of the Hunter Prostate Cancer Alliance and pointed out the increasing risks with age of prostate cancer and the need for older men to be tested. He commended the alliance for its good work in raising awareness of the need for testing.
The member for Rockdale referred to another iconic group in our community, the State Emergency Service, and its volunteers, particularly those in Rockdale. He encouraged all members of Parliament to support the State Emergency Service volunteers in their electorates. The member for Castle Hill waxed lyrical on the virtues of the Hills District Historical Society and how it has spread knowledge of pioneers in that important part of Sydney. He pointed out that the society is well resourced with artefacts, papers, books and old machinery as well as other things that help to preserve history and teach young people particularly of passing and past generations and the written heritage of the area, which is so important. The member for Granville commended the Gallipoli Scholarship, which was awarded this year at a luncheon organised by Merrylands RSL, to encourage university students and honour the memories of those who suffered or died at Gallipoli, other campaigns in World War I and campaigns in World War II. All the statements honoured groups and people who are very worthy. It was a good exposition on the part of my colleagues.
[The Acting-Speaker (Mr Lee Evans) left the chair at 1.29 p.m. The House resumed at 2.15 p.m.