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 at Government House

Reception in support of Red Nose Australia

Logan City Councillor Darren Power; senior representatives from Red Nose Australia; ladies and gentlemen.

Kaye and I are delighted to host you all on this autumn afternoon at Government House.

Of course, the reasons for us being here today are, in essence, very sad.

It would indeed be a better world if no parent had to endure the pain of losing a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

But, unfortunately, we are not there yet, although thanks to the tireless work of Red Nose Australia and its community of supporters, we inch closer with every passing year.

Queensland still has the third highest rate of sudden and unexpected deaths of children in Australia.

Our most vulnerable communities are at the greatest risk, and there is much work to be done.

But while challenges remain, many have been overcome.

There has, for example, been a momentous shift in our collective understanding of SIDS, and the devastating consequences it inflicts upon families. 

For this, we can thank Red Nose Australia.

What was once a grassroots community group has since grown to become a vital and dynamic organisation.

In this capacity, Red Nose Australia has accomplished truly significant change, generating more than $16 million in investments towards research and education campaigns that have achieved a triumphant turnaround in SIDS statistics.

There are many heroes involved within the Red Nose Australia community.

I acknowledge Red Nose founder Kareene Noelle Fitzgerald, who passed away in 2003.

And here, in Queensland, there is a very special individual for whom we express our gratitude today.

Michele Freemantle founded SIDS and Kids Queensland – now Red Nose Queensland – following the death of her son, Todd, in June 1977.

At such a time, many of us would choose to retreat from the world, to become lost in our own grief.

But this was not Michele’s way.

Instead, Michele chose to reach out to her fellow Queenslanders, offering support, comfort and guidance to others in their time of loss.

This network of care, created by Michele, was the beginning of a vital peer-support group that continues today, more than 40 years later.

Michele, you have changed so many lives for the better, and on behalf of the people of Queensland, I thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I now invite Red Nose Australia CEO, Ms Keren Ludski, to assist with the presentation of an award to Mrs Michele Freemantle.

Michele, please come forward to accept this award in recognition of your ongoing contribution to families across the State, and to raising awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

[Award presentation]

Thank you to everyone at Red Nose Queensland for your continued commitment to a cause on which the lives of so many precious little Australians depend.

I wish you all a most enjoyable afternoon.

Thank you.