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Australian Red Cross welcomes formation of cross-party Parliamentary support group

Tuesday November 29, 2005

The Chief Executive of Australian Red Cross Robert Tickner today welcomed the formation of the cross-party Australian Parliamentary Friends of Red Cross Group within the Australian Parliament.

The Group has four foundation convenors;
Greg Hunt MP
Graham Edwards MP
Kay Hull MP and
Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

The establishment of the Group flows from a letter jointly written to all Members of Parliament in Australia by Mr Tickner and by the former Australian Red Cross CEO Jim Carlton AO suggesting the formation of cross party parliamentary support groups for Red Cross in all Australian Parliaments. These are now being progressively established across the country.

Mr Tickner and Mr Carlton are both former Australian Government Ministers from different sides of politics.

Mr Tickner said that "while Red Cross is strictly neutral and impartial at all times, we seek to build strong links with elected members from all political parties. The strong support given to Australian Red Cross by the MP's and Senators will help us in our work in the community and reaffirms that support for the Red Cross movement comes from people of all political persuasions and all walks of life."

The first initiative of the group was to host a meeting last night at Parliament House in Canberra with the chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), Mr Mar'ie Muhammad, who gave a first hand account of the relief work that followed within hours of the devastating Boxing Day Tsunami and the efforts of the International Red Cross movement in rebuilding the country.

Today the Group has begun a blood donation initiative by MP's and Senators, and the Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Downer launched the Red Cross Summer Challenge Blood Drive from the front of a Donormobile outside Parliament House. He was supported by the Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs, Laurie Ferguson representing the Opposition. At the launch the CEO of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Dr Robert Hetzell warmly welcomed the support of the elected members for the blood drive.

Mr Tickner said he looked forward to working with the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Red Cross to support important Red Cross initiatives to assist vulnerable people both within Australia and around the world.