Scouting and Guiding Movement

As a former cub scout and army cadet for a short time––scouts have been around for more than 100 years. The movement was first founded in the UK in 1907 by Lord Baden-Powell. Since then scouting has evolved into a worldwide movement of nearly 50 million young people and adult volunteers, and is welcoming to all genders. I must give a shout-out to my late mother. She was Baloo in my scout group. She did her bit.

Scouting provides young people, guided by adult volunteers, the opportunity to participate in programs, events, activities and projects that contribute to their growth as active citizens. As the member for Paterson pointed out, that's what it is about: it grows young kids into being really good citizens. Today Scouts Australia is a 70,000-strong organisation. It is part of the 40-million-member world organisation of the scout movement. Scouts Australia has a vision that by 2023 scouts will be the leading youth development movement in Australia, empowering 83,000 young people to be resilient, self-fulfilled, positive change-makers in their community.

Scouting first appeared in Tasmania in 1909, just two years after Lord Baden-Powell. We're first at everything! Within a year of the publication in Britain of Baden-Powell's Scouting for boys––it has been around for a long time––small groups of boys in Hobart, Devonport and Wynyard, each supported by an enthusiastic adult, undertook challenging activities like ambulance work and camp craft. When Baden-Powell first visited Tasmania in 1912, similar groups of scouts were functioning in other towns. For the next 50 years, senior British Scouting personnel came to the state to share ideas, offer advice and provide expert training for leaders.

In the early years, the movement in Tasmania received a modest annual grant from the state government. I'm not sure that they still do; I'm sure they'd welcome it. This was supplemented by income from the Scout Shop and a waste materials collection service, while groups raised money from fairs, dances and Euchre tournaments—a card game. By the mid-1920s, there were some 1,000 Scouts of all ranks in the state. Parent support groups began to appear and the movement enjoyed a lot of support from business, political and civic leaders. In December '33, the organisation was confident enough to stage one of the first national scouting youth events held in the state: a Scout corroboree at Lake Sorell, near my home town.

Membership of Scouting in Tasmania has always fluctuated. It reached a peak of about 5,000 in the early 1970s, but it's still going strong. It's quiet but strong. Early this month, the Joey Scouts celebrated 30 years in Tasmania, with birthday events at the botanical gardens in Hobart and Hollybank in Launceston. There were games, bushwalking and, of course, birthday cake. Scouts Tasmania held its annual Scout camping competition this month, the state-wide Clark Trophy, with 110 scouts and 55 leaders converging on Fulton Park to enjoy a weekend of fine weather and camping. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend, with Senator Anne Urquhart, a Tasmanian, the Tasmanian Scouts AGM, with President, Corey McGrath; Chief Commissioner, Michael Hovington; and Chief Scout of Tasmania, Kate Warner AC, our state's wonderful Governor. It was a joy to watch this community come together from all around the state and descend on Bridgewater, in the south of my electorate, after what has been a very challenging year, for a number of reasons, and celebrate their achievements.

I would particularly like to acknowledge life-member inductees, Maria Direen and Susan Hovington, and years of service awardees, Marion Blight, for 30 years of service, and Denice Walters, for 35 years of service to the organisation. Seeing them take to the podium with great pride after a lifetime of service was really something to see. Also, well done to Australian Scout Medallion awardees, Evan Eastman-Peck and Yumani Nevah, who are the next generation of young Scouts coming through and already they're leaders. The Australian Scout Medallion is the highest award in the Scout section and is achieved by only the top five per cent of Scouts in Australia, so it's a particularly great achievement by these young people. I take this opportunity to congratulate Scouts Australia, Girl Guides Australia, and the world organisation of the Scout movement for continuing to provide an outlet for children to channel their desire for adventure, education and fun and for providing ongoing assistance around our communities. Dib, dib, dib; dob, dob, dob!