Jun 2, 2018

Speech to the Italian National Ball – Co.As.It: 50 Years of Bringing People Together – Sydney – Saturday, 2 June 2018

I am pleased to be here tonight, representing Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition.

There’s an old Italian proverb that goes, ‘a tavola non si invecchia’.

In English this means, ‘at the table you don’t get old’.

But what it really reflects is the value of friends and family coming together over a meal to share the stories of the day.

As we gather here tonight, as friends over dinner, I want to recognise Co.As.It’s long history of bringing people together.

Fifty years ago, almost to the day, Co.As.It was established by community members with the support of the Italian Government in Sydney.

While its initial aim was to assist the growing number of Italian migrants following World War Two, today it has evolved into an organisation that both promotes the Italian language and culture, but also provides important community services.

Co.As.It makes a difference.

It preserves and promotes the history of Italian migrants in Australia through the Co.As.It Family History Group, which I addressed in Leichhardt in September last year.

Community Care Workers visit the homes of elderly Italo-Australians to help with light housework and meal preparation, making it easier for people to stay in their homes, and importantly their communities, for longer.

Its diversity of programs tackle real challenges – gambling, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and provide support for young people and their families.

But there is so much more work that Co.As.It does, every day, improving people’s lives.

Tonight’s COASIT Ball also marks the Italian National Day, which recognises the founding of Italy as a republic following the 1946 referendum.

It also symbolises the birth of a new nation.

Indeed, days of national significance like the Italian National Day serve as a reminder to all of us that while we reflect on our past we need to build for the future.

I’m very pleased to join you here tonight and thank Co.As.It for its fifty years of outstanding service in our communities.

Buon anniversario di cinquanta anni a Co.As.It e auguri a tutti per la festa della repubblica.