HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
I rise to recognise some significant anniversaries in my electorate: 60 years of marriage, 25 years of pastoral ministry and 30 years of service to the Ipswich community.
Des and Dawn McLucas have just celebrated 60 years of marriage - a wonderful achievement and a tribute to their mutual love and dedication.
They have lived in Ipswich for 50 years and raised three children, all of whom attended Silkstone State School.
They have had a long commitment to and involvement in the church and community. They were members of church youth groups and met at Youth for Christ in Brisbane. Later they participated in outreach work to street kids.
Des has spent his adult life helping many Ipswich residents improve their vision. He was an optical mechanic and made lenses for spectacles.
Dawn was a talented milliner and made beautiful hats. In fact, while working in Ipswich she created a bridal headpiece that won a Queensland fashion award.
Des is a member of the Labor Party and a beloved member of my own branch, the Raceview Flinders Branch. He is known for his compassionate approach to politics, his commitment to social justice and his enthusiasms for democratic involvement within the Labor Party. He has been a great support to me politically and indeed spiritually, providing wisdom and a considered point of view.
Congratulations, Des and Dawn, and may God bless you throughout the remainder of your lives together.
I want to recognise Pastor Mark Edwards OAM for his remarkable 25 years as senior pastor of the Cityhope Church in my own neighbourhood.
In 2014, Mark was awarded the prestigious Order of Australia Medal by the Governor-General for service to the church and to the Ipswich community.
Mark and I have a lot in common. We have known each other a long time and our families have known each other for generations.
Mark was a lawyer, initially, like I was. He went into pastoral ministry not into parliament.
We both like to run, but he is a much better runner than I am. He takes it very seriously.
Tragically, Mark suffered a serious heart attack in 2013. Through determination and extensive rehabilitation he managed to regain his fitness, and two years later he completed the Paris marathon, to his credit.
Mark is from a long line of Edwards who have served and contributed to Ipswich. Mark's father was Sir Llew Edwards, the former Liberal member for Ipswich, Minister for Health, Treasurer and Deputy Premier of Queensland.
Mark serves in that tradition. Today, Cityhope Church is not only one of the region's largest and most vibrant churches; it has a wonderful record of engagement with the Ipswich community.
The Cityhope Church, under his leadership, has played a tremendous role following many disasters - particularly the 2011 floods, with an evacuation and recovery centre located at the church.
Each year the church hosts the 'Day of Honour' service, acknowledging and thanking local emergency service workers, politicians and others who serve the community.
Mark's achievements would not be possible without the support, love and strength of his wonderful wife, Gail, and their four children. His anniversary is their anniversary and it is their achievement together.
I am proud to call Mark a friend and value his wisdom, pastoral care and regular visits to Canberra.
Last week I had the honour of participating in the 30th birthday of the Leichhardt One Mile Community Centre in my electorate. I was honoured to participate in the official ceremonies and held a mobile office at the centre's celebratory fair.
The centre is operated by the Leichhardt Community Group Incorporated, which began operating in 1984 to provide assistance to the wives and families of RAAF personnel living in Leichhardt. It soon expanded to include all members of the local community in and around Leichhardt, One Mile and Wulkuraka.
My uncle, Merv Neumann is the president of the Leichhardt Community Group and has been a driving force in ensuring ongoing funding and support. He was instrumental in establishing the men's shed that operates at the community centre.
I want to acknowledge the work of the centre's coordinator, Kym Tuuta, along with the community development worker, Alana Wahl, and early connections worker, Ainsley Walker. Together with their incredible volunteers, they ensure the centre provides a wonderful range of support and welfare services to this part of the Ipswich community.
One such volunteer is an Indigenous woman and elder Aunty Vera Short, who is a friend of mine. She is passionate about connecting young Indigenous people with the community.
Over the last 30 years the centre has changed and evolved with the local residents. Today, the Leichhardt One Mile Community Centre provides everything and anything the community needs. It is a place where people come for a coffee, to participate in the community garden, to connect with others around them and also to help each other out. It is something for everyone - expectant mothers, babies, children and teens throughout their lives, right through into seniors programs.
Congratulations on 30 years of wonderful service and on the role the centre plays in making Ipswich a vibrant, warm and loving community.