Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (17:09): We have built a prosperous and successful multicultural nation in Australia, one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world, and on Australia Day we recognise how the wonderful people in our community have helped to define who we are as Australians. I was very pleased that, on Australia Day this year, I was able to attend ceremonies and functions in Shellharbour, in Wollongong and in the Wingecarribee shire, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.
On this first day of parliament, I want our national parliament to recognise the people from my region who received honours in the Australia Day honours list. We are recognising people who have contributed from my region to science and technology, the arts, community services, sports, medicine and advocacy for the First Australians, people like Gordon Wallace, Bill Lovegrove, Dr Ann Ellacott, Patrick Roberts, Ron Dryburgh, Raymond Vincent, Noel Cornish, Robyn te Velde, Judith O'Brien, Phil Yeo, Noeline Munro, Peter Nickl, John Flynn, Richard Biele, John Williams and Brian Castles-Onion and including one rocker well known to all of us here, one James—better known as Jimmy—Barnes.
All of the awards are well deserved, but the person I would like to talk a bit about is my friend Phil Yeo. I can wholeheartedly say that he well and truly deserved this recognition. Phil's service to local government and the community of Wingecarribee and his dedication to education have made him an invaluable member of our region. He was elected five times to the Wingecarribee Shire Council, serving for 24 years—a sentence indeed! He had the great honour of serving as a mayor and a deputy mayor over those many years. His service was defined by integrity, innovation and leadership. At a time when councils were focusing on rates, rubbish and kerbs, Phil's innovations brought to the council contributions to providing community services and ensuring the council took a role in environmental stewardship, something that all of us in public office should aspire to and uphold.
Phil also dedicated himself over many, many years to shaping the minds of the next generations of Australia through public education. He worked as a teacher, a high school principal, a chief education officer and finally as the director of schools for the Bowral region. Phil is a reminder of what we love about our community. I am very proud to call him my friend, but he is also a person who continues to give and to motivate us in all the things that we aspire to in this place. I ask that the parliament recognise his many years of service to our community.