It’s weekend so it’s time to reach out and connect with your community.
Last week a newly elected member of our federal parliament, Julian Leeser, gave his maiden speech, and he brought all members to their feet with a standing ovation as he finished.
For the past 20 years he has regretted knocking back a simple request from his father to help him polish his shoes the night before he took his own life.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t regret it,” Julian Leeser told a hushed House of Representatives on Wednesday night.
“When he asked if I could help him … before he left for a dinner at my brother’s school, I remember as a self-absorbed 20-year-old the petulance and rudeness with which I waived away the opportunity to help my father, a man who so often helped me.”
In a maiden speech … Mr Leeser, a largely unknown new Liberal MP, managed to both unite and grip his fellow members in a searing opening to his political career.
Describing the moment that he discovered his father John had committed suicide, the new Berowra MP, in northwest Sydney, transported the House of Representatives back to September 1996.
This is how he ended his speech:
“All this shows that government money alone will not solve this epidemic. Treating depression as purely a medical issue is not working.
“Rather we need to rebuild caring communities where people know and notice the signs [and] ask ‘Are you OK?’, or more directly ‘Are you contemplating suicide?’
“And we need to create the conditions where those who are thinking about suicide feel comfortable enough to ask for help.
“I have seen active engagement in community combat loneliness and enable people to see a world outside themselves.
“In a society where people are more pressured and more isolated than ever before, active engagement in community fosters civility, courtesy and understanding, virtues that are too often undervalued and supplanted by anger.”
It’s well worth reading this full article.
Oh, and by the way, did I say it’s weekend, so it’s time to connect with your community?