Grievance Debate: Italian Earthquakes


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 15:25 ): I rise on behalf of my community in Morialta in particular, but I am sure on behalf of the house and all South Australians, to extend my deep sorrow to all the people who have been impacted by the recent earthquakes in central Italy. Of course, the house would be aware that many thousands of people in my community are first, second or third generation migrants from Italy, and the Marche region in particular is one of the main areas my residents have come from, many of them after the Second World War. 

The devastation that has been wrought upon these communities in recent days, weeks and months has been nothing short of extraordinary. The earthquake that hit in recent days has been noted as indeed Italy's most powerful earthquake in 36 years. In an extraordinary set of good fortune, my understanding is that nobody died as a result of this most recent earthquake, although tens of thousands of people have been rendered homeless and hundreds have been injured. Irreplaceable historic buildings have been destroyed—buildings that people in my community and people in South Australia grew up loving and knowing very well. 

One of the factors that led to the lack of lives being lost was that a series of tremors and after-shocks in recent weeks happened when many of the social gatherings in this region were being held outside and that people were sleeping in tents, rather than in their houses, and that church services were not being held in many of the historic buildings that are now in ruins. 

We were not so fortunate several months ago when 300 people died and hundreds more were injured and, again, thousands more were left homeless after the initial earthquakes particularly, which devastated the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and Pescara del Tronto. It was an extraordinary natural disaster, leaving 300 people dead, and it had a big impact on South Australia's Italian community. 

I was pleased to participate in a mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, where the Premier was also in attendance. It was important that the South Australian community contribute, given the thousands and in fact probably tens of thousands of people living in South Australia who were citizens of Italy and from that area. The taxpayers' contribution was $100,000. The Italian community has been conducting further fundraising. I know that the Carabinieri Association held a fundraiser which the member for Unley attended, and Radio Italiana is having ongoing fundraisers. In particular, I want to draw the house's attention to the work being done by a committee that is doing significant fundraising. 

Committee members include its chair, Cavaliere Cathy Papandrea; the secretary, Victoria Placentino; the treasurer, Mario Romaldi; the vice treasurer, Anna Farrugia and also Alessandro Vecchiarelli, Dr Angelo Fantasia, Cavaliere Frank Salzano, and Professor Nicola Sasanelli; Oliver Totani of Colliers, who ran an extraordinary auction at the fundraiser; Robert Ciufoli, the president of the Marche Club; Rosa Vorrasi; Sebastian Galipo, who donated an extraordinary amount of food to the fundraiser; Cavaliere Ufficiale Steve Maglieri who donated an extraordinary amount of wine to the fundraiser; Magistrate Cavaliere Ted Iuliano; Cavaliere Vincenzo Papandrea and Anthony Fioravanti. 

The Premier was good enough to drop in on the fundraiser and give a speech, and the member for Torrens and the President of the Legislative Council were there for the Labor Party. The Liberal Party was represented not only by me but also by our leader; our deputy leader; the member for Hartley; the member for Unley; the Hon. Stephen Wade, the shadow minister for health; and Clementina Maione, the Liberal Legislative Council candidate. We also reached further into our pockets to donate a further $1,000 to the cause. 

That night raised $70,000 in one event for the victims of the earthquake. It was an extraordinary success as a fundraiser and a tribute to the power and the strength of the Italian community in South Australia that they, in their new home, feel such affinity with their homeland, and they are supported in doing so by all members of this house, I am certain.

Mr TARZIA ( Hartley ) ( 15:45 ): I might firstly pick up where the member for Morialta left off, when speaking about the Adelaide Central Italy Earthquake Appeal which recently had a very successful function at the Marche Club. I think, before his time expired, the member for Morialta was also going to mention how the Italian consul, Dr Roberta Ronzitti, did such a fantastic job. She made a very moving speech and did a great job in supporting the evening. I thank Dr Ronzitti for the good work that the consul continues to do in supporting the Italian community in South Australia but especially in times like these, when we certainly need to rally around the community due to these most recent tragic events that have occurred. 

It is also sad to see that, since this function, we have seen another very bad earthquake in the centre of Italy in Norcia, which has been devastating and has left a lot of damage. I sincerely empathise with the families who have been affected by this and wish them all the very best in picking up the pieces and getting on with their lives which, once these buildings are rebuilt, can slowly be put back together. 

I also recently attended the Adelaide Central Italy Earthquake Appeal 'Restart the clock' function which was hosted by the Marche Club. There were many, many people—I counted over 300—there that evening. It was great to see so many people attend the event and support the cause, including members from both sides of the house, as my colleague has alluded to in this place. 

I was lucky enough to be treated to fantastic hospitality as usual by the Marche Club as well as take part in various activities that were devoted towards raising funds for the recovery of the central Italy area. The event was certainly a success. I believe it raised $72,000 to go back into helping the victims of this terrible earthquake. 

I would also like to pay my respects and thank the committee, headed very ably by Cavaliere Catherine Papandrea and assisted by the many people on the committee who my colleague made mention of a little bit earlier, especially Oliver Totani. I went to school with Oliver Totani. He is a good soccer player, but he is an even better auctioneer. We were treated to a fantastic— 

Mr Gardner: He managed to raise $800 for dinner with me. 

Mr TARZIA: He even managed to raise $800 for a dinner with the member for Morialta, so there you go. Moving on to Rostrevor College, another big event took place in Paradise last night when I had the pleasure of attending the Rostrevor College presentation evening on behalf of the member for Morialta. The night featured a suite of high-quality musical items accompanied by an acknowledgement of the successful students who won awards. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with some parents in the area and some old teachers as well as many of the students who were there. It is great to see the school doing fantastic work as usual. 

The evening was a grand experience, and I would like to thank the school as well as the members of the board, parents, friends and volunteers of the school for giving us the honour of what we saw last night. It was also a privilege to present the Murphy House Award to one of the students, Alexander Gentilcore. Well done, Alex. 

The night was also a chance to farewell headmaster, Simon Dash—a man who has led Rostrevor admirably over the last six years. It goes without saying that many of our private schools have obviously gone through certain challenges over the last few years, especially with the decline in the economy which has affected many people's ability to afford private school tuition fees. Not only that, we are the envy, if you like, in the east and north-east, as we have wonderful public schools as well which I suppose have also put pressure on private schools, so it has been a challenging time for private schools in the east and the north-east. Simon Dash has done a wonderful job. I wish him all the very best— 

Mr Gardner: He's a good man. 

Mr TARZIA: —with the next chapter in his life. He is a good man and I thank him sincerely on behalf of the community for his service. I am glad to say that, when a possum actually did enter into the speech night last night, he did crack a Queenslander joke that only a Queenslander can. I will add that this Saturday Rostrevor College will host its annual spring fair, featuring live music, show rides and a range of delicious foods. The fair is a great chance to bring together the local community. I encourage everyone to take the chance to attend this great event— Mr Gardner: On Saturday. 

Mr TARZIA: —on Saturday.