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Stars of the North - Cancer Council

Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Parliamentary Secretary) [6.17 p.m.]: As a member of Parliament one is expected to have a wide skill set, whether it is public speaking, leadership or making tough decisions on behalf of one's local community. Dancing, however, is not usually a skill associated with politicians, although politicians have to be very quick on their feet. I am not that quick on my feet. Despite my distinct lack of dancing experience—which is the sum total of what I learned for my year 9 bush dance—I have decided to sign up for the Cancer Council's inaugural Stars of the North dancing event. The fundraising concept is similar to the television show Dancing with the Stars, and I will be paired with a dancing instructor and given a few months to practise a rehearsed dance routine.

I would like to thank the owner of the Belcastro School of Dancing, Jan Belcastro, for kindly offering me some dance lessons with one of her wonderfully talented instructors, Sophia Anicic—they do not know what they are in for. I can assure members that Sophia will have her work cut out for her if she is to make my dancing look good on stage in front of a packed auditorium, but I know that I am in good hands. Sophia is putting together a modern jive dance routine as we speak that even I, with my two left feet, should hopefully be able to complete. I will have to draw on all my limited dance experience, which includes year 9 line dancing and hitting the dance floor at Hornsby RSL on a Saturday.

Ms Kate Washington: That's not going to help.

Mr MATT KEAN: No, I do not think that is the same kind of dancing. The Stars of the North dancing event is of course about so much more than me or any of the other contestants showing off our newly acquired ballroom dance moves. It is about being part of the Cancer Council team to help raise funds and search for a cure to end this insidious disease. Last year my family, like so many other families across the nation, were touched by cancer when my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was one of the lucky ones and is now in the clear. But so many other Australians are not so fortunate. Every dollar we raise takes us one step closer to beating this disease. Hopefully, having me embarrass myself will raise some money to go towards fighting cancer.

I acknowledge some of the other contestants who have signed on to compete in the inaugural Stars of the North dancing event, in particular my very good friend and the newly elected Federal member for North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman. He is the only person I want to beat in this event, and looking at his sporting track record I am quietly confident that I can. The other contestants include: Willoughby mayor Gail Giles-Gidney; Northern Sydney Cancer Centre representative Paula MacLeod; Olympic pentathlon competitor Ed Fernon—he is a Riverview old boy and probably knows what he is doing; local author Bernard Cohen; Tamara Le Boursicot from McGrath real estate; and Coey Li from St George Bank.

I am always thrilled to support Cancer Council's proactive work in the local community. They have a fantastic team made up of passionate members like Becky Dadswell, Monica Mikhael, Liz Hing and Jessica Green. They all do a great job in supporting cancer survivors in our local community and encouraging local residents to get behind a fun range of engaging fundraising activities. The Cancer Council has a broad range of fundraising initiatives throughout the year, such as Australia's Biggest Morning Tea, which is coming up in May; Pink Ribbon Day; Daffodil Day; and of course the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Relay for Life event, of which I am a proud patron.

I am proud to say that the Hornsby shire supports all of these days through generous donations and countless hours of volunteer service. In fact, the Hornsby shire ranks amongst the top council areas for unpaid volunteers who give back to their local community. As the local member of Parliament, it is a real pleasure to be able to join these hardworking volunteers and support them at as many fundraising events as possible. Supporting the Cancer Council is a real team effort in Hornsby. We have many volunteers from far and wide who gladly give up their precious time to help others in need.

For instance, Dr Yvonne McMaster is a tireless health advocate who supports a range of Cancer Council events in Hornsby and the lower North Shore. Yvonne is a dear friend of mine who is passionate about palliative care and improving medical care for terminally ill patients in need of additional care. Yvonne is of course one of many loyal volunteers who help out at Cancer Council events each year. I want to acknowledge just some of the many helpers who have helped to make these fantastic charity fundraising days possible.

The volunteers include Vedant Tijoriwala and his brother Rahul Tijoriwala, Robyn Twigg, Lyn Murphy, Rowena and Alan Clarke, entertainers Craig Reeve and Peter Kirkwood, Michael and Jonas Jakubek, Jim Marsh, Greg Timewell, and cancer survivor Phil Burge. There are also many schools, community groups and businesses that support the Cancer Council. The Rotary Club of Hornsby is another community group that supports the Cancer Council every year for Daffodil Day. Each year Hornsby Rotary president Gail Farr saves me an apron to join her and Rotary members, such as Bill Scott, Geoffrey Sell and Sivaraj Sagathavan, to sell Daffodil Day merchandise at Hornsby railway station. I look forward to supporting the Cancer Council again next month and thank all those who support the Cancer Council in any way they can.

To view the full Hansard transcript click here.