After months of planning the Parliamentary launch of the Charter for Compassion – the day finally arrived where both Australia’s major parties, Labor and Liberal, would stand side by side and commit to creating  a more compassionate Australia. Little did the Charter for Compassion team know that the 24th June 2010 would become one of the most controversial and historic days in Australian politics.
For those unaware of the context, Kevin Rudd Prime Minister of Australia, was superseded by his Deputy, now Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
As one can imagine, most of Parliament House was mayhem on that memorable Thursday. A flurry of mixed emotions, concerns, controversy and confusion. Yet, in the heart of turmoil, in the ‘The Main Committee Room’, was a space, where the sentiments and feelings were very different – the overriding focus was that of Compassion.

With great support, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector, Senator Ursula Stephens, ensured that the Charter was recognised and celebrated by the Australian Government. She said “For those of us who work in this place, the Charter reminds us that it is not just the legislated laws that shape a nation, but the way in which we behave to each other.” Senator Stephens also read out a letter from Prime Minister Rudd expressing the importance of Compassion in Australia.

Shadow Minister for Ageing, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, addressed the room, expressing strong support from the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.

The ceremony also included a special video message from Charter visionary Karen Armstrong, a Traditional Aboriginal Welcome to Country from Ngunnawal Elder, Agnes Shea and a meditation session with the Venerable Bhante Sujato from the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils.

Many thanks go to the religious, diplomatic, youth and community leaders who attended the event.  

A special thanks is also extended to Diversity Consulting and to Senator Stephens Office for sponsoring the event.

The 24th June 2010 will go down as a momentous day in Australian history for so many reasons – but for the Charter for Compassion team is was a victorious day towards Australia committing to a more compassionate world.