I rise today to acknowledge one of South Australia's unsung heroes. There are many people in our society who are quiet achievers, helping out where needed and answering the call to public service. They do not do what they do for accolades and are surprised and humbled to receive them when they are recognised.
One of these people is Des Stanbury, who sits in the gallery today with his family, Beryl, Louise and Michael, accompanied by John Lewis, the CEO of Harness Racing South Australia. I have known Des for many years through his involvement with the Liberal Party, of which he has been a proud member for over 45 years.
He is the Lobethal branch president in the electorate of the member for Kavel— Mark Goldsworthy, affectionately known as the Marvel from Kavel—and he has held a number of other positions in the party. Des currently serves on our state council. I thank Des and his family for making the effort to come to this place.
I have on my desk a trophy, and this trophy is the reason I want to acknowledge Des today, as it is symbolic of many years of service and dedication rather than any one specific achievement. Everyday people who give their lives quietly in service are the backbone of communities all around Australia. This trophy is the Distinguished Service Award from the Australian Harness Racing Council and it was awarded to Des earlier this year at the Adelaide Cup celebration.
Mr Mark Carey, Chair of Harness Racing South Australia, accompanied the Stanbury family and me for lunch today. Indeed, I was fortunate enough to be an invited guest at the Harness Racing Adelaide Cup celebration along with the Hon. David Ridgway and Mr Tim Whetstone, the member for Chaffey. It was quite fortuitous because Des was actually the MC of the event, and Mark Carey did a wonderful job of surprising Des by introducing Mr Geoff Want, who is the Chairman of Harness Racing Australia.
Des was a little bit confused as to why Mark was taking over, but he dutifully sat down. Mr Want went on to talk about a person who had made a wonderful contribution to harness racing in South Australia and indeed was the recipient of one of the most prestigious Harness Racing Australia awards. I asked Des today at what point during the speech he worked out that the award was for him and it was not until his name was actually read out, which just goes to show what a humble fellow Des is.
Des has served on the South Australian Harness Racing Council for many years. He has served as its vice president and was director for eight years. Des is more than deserving of the award, as many involved in harness racing would agree but, as I mentioned, it is symbolic of many years of service and dedication.
In addition to his involvement with the Liberal Party and harness racing, Des has been a volunteer firefighter with the Country Fire Service for over 54 years with the Lobethal brigade, where he is also the finance officer. On top of the service to his local brigade, he also serves as the logistics officer for the Onkaparinga group and he is an incident management consultant for region 1, where he was part of the response to the Sampson Flat bushfires recently.
This level of volunteering would be too much for many of us to fit into our lives. However, on top of all this, Des was also a football umpire in country South Australia for 26 years, umpiring all across the state, in places such as Ceduna, Kangaroo Island, the Murraylands, Renmark, the Mid North and Clare. This was of course during a time when matches had only one official umpire; I am not sure there are too many in this chamber who remember those days.
To give members an indication of the level of dedication, Des would catch the bus on Friday night all the way to Ceduna, get off the bus, umpire a game of football and then get back on the bus and come all the way back to Adelaide. I am not sure that that sort of dedication to communities exists these days. It is really quite outstanding. I can only hope that the players and spectators were a bit fairer on him as a result of those sorts of efforts. We all know how much sporting officials cop the ire of the fans.
For many years, Des was on the SANFL selection panel for umpires, such was his commitment to officiating our great game. Just in case this weight of service is exhausting people, I should mention that Des turned 80 last month and shows no sign of stopping his service and dedication to politics, volunteer firefighting and his community in general.
On behalf of everyone in this place and the people of South Australia whom I represent, I wish to thank Des Stanbury and the many like him in this state who give themselves in service without the expectation of accolades. Des, you are a true champion.