Address to NSW Parliament
The Hon. ERNEST WONG [11.10 p.m.]: I ask my distinguished colleagues: When was the last time they attended a meeting and saw the word “kindness” on the agenda? I draw the attention of members to a global campaign in which Australia is playing a lead role. It is shaping up to be a game changer and is gaining the attention of the United Nations. The World Kindness Movement is the peak global body of a coalition of nations that was conceptualised in Japan in 1997 and officially launched in Singapore on 18 November 2000. It has no political or religious affiliations and comprises international representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Thailand, Romania, Scotland, Switzerland, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The mission of the World Kindness Movement is to inspire individuals towards greater kindness and to connect nations to create a kinder world by encouraging Government and non-government agencies to engage in the global campaign.
World Kindness Australia is the official secretariat to the World Kindness Movement. The kindness campaign in Australia was initially motivated by Mr Michael Lloyd-White, a father who was concerned about the increasing levels of bullying being reported in the media. Inspired by his daughter’s school motto, “Kindness and Courtesy” he suggested to the school that it hold an event on 13 November to coincide with World Kindness Day 2009. The campaign launched at Double Bay Public School was attended by 3,000 local residents. He then went on to found World Kindness Australia in 2011. The campaign promotes the values of kindness, which include the courage of kindness, that is, encouraging others to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. That in itself is a valuable message.
The aim of World Kindness Australia is to place kindness on the national agenda, from our classrooms to our staffrooms and from our boardrooms to our corridors of government. The campaign to date has seen over 400 events and has World Kindness Day listed on State and Federal school calendars. This year the University of Sydney launched an unprecedented world-first elite sports scholarship for world kindness. This is significant, as students come to realise the value of a sports career inspired by kindness whilst remaining competitive. It ensures the Australian tradition of fairness will always be present in our future role models and sporting legends.
In September 2012 Australia was elected as the secretariat and the kindness torch was passed from Singapore to Australia for the first time in 16 years. This was acknowledged by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, hosting a Goodwill Ambassador event at Government House. The Governor presented councils, schools and non-government organisations from across Australia with their certificates of membership to World Kindness Australia. In August this year the Prime Minister entrusted World Kindness Australia, in its role as secretariat, with delivering his message of welcome to China on joining the global campaign. I am proud to have been a facilitator of this important milestone.
There is a growing belief worldwide that kindness is the common thread that can bridge the divides of race, religion, politics and even postcodes. It is a game changer, and Australia has been recognised as the key driver to see these outcomes realised. During the first 12 months of appointment as the secretariat, Australia has invited and assisted China, Thailand and Switzerland to become new members. It is in the process of assisting Malaysia, the Philippines, Argentina, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, Vietnam and Palestine to join the campaign. Executives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have predicted that the World Kindness Day campaign could be bigger than Clean Up The World Day. Cities now have an opportunity to be officially listed by the peak global body as World Kindness Cities. With this, local government will be provided with the opportunity to influence positive global change.
To support the campaign World Kindness Australia launched an interactive World Kindness Card, which tracks acts of kindness using Google Maps. The plastic card is presented to individuals to acknowledge someone for their kindness. It records a journal of stories online, collecting miles and smiles as it is passed on from one person to another. Every time it is used, the individual is advised that the card has been used, its location, how many miles it has travelled and the act of kindness it captured.