Speech by Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

Giving Australia 2016 Launch

Location: Australian Parliament House, Canberra




Good morning everyone and welcome to Parliament House.

Thank you for inviting me to join you for the launch of Giving Australia 2016.

I would like to acknowledge:

  • The many volunteers and givers
  • Special guest – Stasia Dabrowska OAM – National Finalist Australia’s local hero 2017.
  • Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership members, Peter Treseder, Colleen McGann and Angela Perry
  • Volunteering Australia, Philanthropy Australia, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and Fundraising Institute of Australia and
  • Members of the expert reference group, many of whom are here today, and the many representatives from business, philanthropy and the non-profit sector that contributed.


As the very comprehensive work being launched today attests, giving and volunteering is an important part of Australia’s social and cultural fabric.

Australians have a long record of giving both to individuals in need and to help make their communities better places to live in.

I have been interested to learn that six per cent of our charities are more than 100 years old, and on average Australian charities are more than 30 years old.

That is a great testament to the dedication of the sector, and to the generosity of Australians who have supported it.

Whether it is saving lives on our beaches, easing the daily life of the elderly, helping young kids in trouble, fighting bushfires, funding vital medical research, sponsoring the arts and educational institutions, Australian charities and volunteer organisations hold a very special place in national and community life.

Right across Australia, philanthropists, charities and volunteers are making a difference every day.

Today, I would particularly like to acknowledge the enormous contribution that our special guest Stasia has made as a volunteer to the Canberra region for nearly four decades.

A Canberra icon, Stasia gives not only food, but love, kindness and compassion.

Stasia is up at 5am six days each week, driving her van around Canberra to collect donated food from companies.

Then, on Thursday nights, she peels and cooks 180 kilos of vegetables in preparation for feeding up to 500 people from a mobile soup kitchen she runs in Civic on Friday nights.

With the help of generous contributions from the Canberra community, Stasia has provided to the needy relentlessly, rain, hail or shine since 1979.

Giving Australia Report

I would like to commend the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership for commissioning Giving Australia 2016 which will help strengthen the philanthropy, charities and volunteering sector into the future.

It is a $1.7 million project over three years and has resulted in Australia’s largest ever review and analysis of giving and volunteering.

Today sees the launch of the Giving Australia 2016 literature review and summary, which provides a comprehensive documentation of current knowledge about all aspects of giving.

The research was led by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs.

I thank all involved in this excellent work for their efforts.

Research Findings

The research is already illuminating much that will help our work from here.

This kind of information will hopefully help non-profits better respond and effectively channel people’s enthusiasm to help others.

At another level, the research will help the Government make informed decisions about the best ways we can help the sector.

On a closing note and looking ahead a few days, I hope everyone will also be taking part in the celebrations for Community & Philanthropy Partnerships Week – the annual showcase for grassroots community groups and their philanthropic partners to promote their achievement together across Australia.

This year’s theme is the power of partnerships and I’m looking forward to seeing the great work that will be on show.

Thank you.