Lions Australia

03 November, 2022

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (16:05): I move:

 That this council—

 1. Congratulates Lions Australia for celebrating its 75th anniversary in September 2022;

 2. Recognises Lions Clubs throughout Australia, including those in South Australia, who are involved in establishing and managing a range of meaningful projects and foundations to support a wide variety of community needs; and

 3. Notes the significant contributions Lions Clubs make in funding vital medical research, improving health care, assisting adults and children with disabilities, responding to natural disasters and emergencies and improving the lives of others.

It is a great honour to rise today to move this motion in my name to acknowledge Lions Australia's 75th anniversary celebrations.

It is important for the Parliament of South Australia to acknowledge the long and impressive history and outstanding contributions that Lions Australia has made, and is still making, to support those in need and to enrich our community across Australia.

Lions Australia is made up of men and women dedicated to serving those in need whether in their own community or halfway around the world.

Lions began in the United States in 1917, when a group of independent clubs responded to an idea presented to them by a young Chicago insurance agent, Melvin Jones, who believed that local business clubs should expand their horizons from purely professional concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large.

I have always been fascinated by the meaning of, and how organisations come up with, a logo or emblem to represent their brand or their important charter, and I would like to take a moment to talk about the Lions' emblem.

The corporate logo consists of a gold letter 'L' on a circular purple field. Bordering the letters is a circular gold area with two conventionalised lion profiles at either side facing away from the centre. The word 'Lions' appears at the top and the word 'International' at the bottom.

Symbolically, the lions face both past and future—proud of the past and confident of the future.

The colours the Lions are proud to use are purple and gold. To Lions, purple stands for loyalty to country, to friends, one's self, and the integrity of mind and heart. Purple is the traditional colour of strength, courage and a tireless dedication to a cause.

The colour gold symbolises sincerity of purpose, liberality in judgement, purity in life and generosity in mind, heart and purse towards those in need.

On 29 September 1947 the first Australian Lions Club was chartered in Lismore, largely through the efforts of Bill Tresise, who was later made a Member of the British Empire for his services to the community.

Due to the determined efforts of the Australian Secretary for Lions Clubs International, Jim McLardie OAM, the first South Australian Lions Club was formed in 1961. It was called the Lions Club of the City of Adelaide. It also became the 201st Lions Club in Australia.

In South Australia, through times of change, in 2001-02 it was structured into two districts, 201C1 and 201C2. The C1 district covers all the areas west of Anzac Highway to the Western Australian border and north to the border with the Northern Territory.

The C2 district is vast, reaching from the Limestone Coast region of south-east South Australia, and including Kangaroo Island, half of metropolitan Adelaide and out through the Riverland to Sunraysia in Victoria and Broken Hill in New South Wales. It also includes all the Northern Territory.

I would like to acknowledge some of the many firsts of Lions in South Australia as part of the Lions' legacy in this state.

The first club, the Lions Club of the City of Adelaide, was established on 1 July 1961, and I would like to pay tribute to Bevan Rutt OBE, who was the first club president.

The first club project was, believe it or not, the printing of a pamphlet to prevent children from molestation. That happened back in the 1960s.

The first district was created in 1964, followed by the first multiple district chairperson, John LeCornu, in 1966.

In addition to acknowledging the founders in South Australia, I extend my sincere thanks to every Lion and Leo in every club across these two districts, particularly acknowledging Zig Osis, district governor of 201C1, and Ruth Pearsons, district governor of 201C2, together with all the presidents and members of all the clubs for their strong leadership and commitment to serving our community.

South Australian Lions are involved in services projects at all levels and come from all walks of life and from all community groups. They are united in the common goal of fellowship and helping those in need.

From the aspirational beginning, now in 2022, 75 years on from the founding of the first club, Lions Australia has grown dramatically, with over 1,200 clubs and 25,000 members giving back through an array of community-based programs and initiatives.

This impressive list of clubs make Lions Australia the largest service club organisation in Australia and one of the country's most important and impactful organisations.

As Shadow Minister for Communities, I am deeply proud of the amazing efforts and contributions that all the Lions Clubs of Australia have made and continue to make in their local communities.

I am sure honourable members are aware of—and many are deeply involved in supporting—the great work of the local Lions Club in their areas.

In speaking to a number of my parliamentary colleagues, I understand that the Hon. John Gardner, the Member for Morialta, is a Lion of the Torrens Valley club and has been a long-term sponsor of various Lions activities, including the Black Hill Challenge and others. His electorate office is always happy to sell Lions cakes to the community.

Lions Clubs epitomise the very best of life and community in regional Australia and regional South Australia. Mr Tim Whetstone, Member for Chaffey, has spoken to me on numerous occasions of the fundraising efforts by the Riverland Lions Clubs—the Berri Lions Club and the Renmark Lions Club—and their incredible work over many decades. They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist people in the Riverland community.

Mrs Ashton Hurn, the Member for Schubert, often speaks about her family involvement in Angaston Lions Club and how her grandfather, her uncle and her husband are all proud members of Lions. I am sure there are families out there just like Ashton's that share the traditions of the Lions heritage from one generation to another.

For 75 years, Lions Australia has served with uncommon kindness, putting the needs of their neighbours and their communities ahead of themselves. One of the great qualities of Lions Clubs is the incredibly diverse range of issues that they tackle.

Some Lions Club members, known affectionately as Lions, are on a mission to cure childhood cancer and diabetes. Others are committed to assisting those impacted by drought and floods, and many simply are working together to help those in their local community.

Lions Clubs throughout Australia are involved in establishing and managing a range of national projects, activities, foundations and initiatives.

Through community fundraising, last year alone Lions Clubs raised more than $28 million that went towards funding medical research, health care, assisting adults and children with disabilities, emergency response and other purposes to help the community.

Lions also donate two million hours of volunteering services and community support each year.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the incredible projects that Lions Clubs across South Australia are doing, including supporting youth opportunities, health, humanitarian efforts, emergency response, the environment, and research and innovation.

Young South Australians can be involved in Lions Australia through a range of youth opportunities or by joining a Leo Club. Leos are devoted young people who realise the power of action. Through service to their community, they make the world a better place.

I want to take this opportunity to highlight one of the scholarship recipients this year from South Australia. This year, through the Lions Medical Research Foundation Scholarship, Lions provided $35,000 to a recipient. I would like to congratulate a South Australian by the name of Emma Cheney, who was named the 2022 scholarship recipient.

Emma's area of study under the scholarship will be myeloma research at the University of Adelaide where she is focusing on a very special project. Congratulations Emma and everybody else involved in the Lions Club.

I would like to congratulate Lions Australia for celebrating a milestone 75th anniversary.

I want to commend this motion to the house and want to emphasise that when there is a need, there is ALWAYS a Lion.

I commend the motion.