The new Democrats Leader, Senator Lyn Allison, has been using her links with UNICEF to coordinate party members who are interested in helping with collecting from the public at various events. It’s been a good way for people to lend a hand beyond just writing out the cheque and it’s provided good feedback on the public mood about the issue.
I did a couple of hours last week rattling a tin as people walked into the Women’s Hardcourt tennis semi-finals at the Gold Coast. Even though it was two weeks after the Tsunami and many people had clearly given before, the majority of people put some money in the tin – quite a few putting notes rather than coins (which is nice because the tin doesn’t get so heavy), and at least two putting in $50. Over the course of the whole tournament many thousands of dollars were donated. (and well done to local Queenslander Samantha Stosur for making the finals of that event and the Sydney international tournament the week after.)
There’s been similar feedback from many other members who’ve been collecting at various other events. I heard a report of two members last weekend who set up a table at the Albany Creek Shopping Centre on the northern outskirts of Brisbane and collected over $2,500. Apart from giving money, people often stopped to talk and the Shopping Centre Management did everything they could to assist, including making some extra signs.
I just hope we can keep this sense of affinity with other nations, especially in our region, as time goes on. There must be some real prospect of that, but it won’t happen automatically, it will need continuing encouragement. Still, that’s no reason not to be positive about what is happening now with the level of giving and compassion that is apparent throughout the community.