Life of Riley: A community service announcement

January 31, 2001

Life of Riley

A community service announcement

With the year already well under way, I think we should note its significance. There's been the Year of the Pig before this and maybe the International Year for the Prevention of Bad Breath — but 2001 is chalked up as the Year of the Volunteer.

Much as I am into volunteering — I step forward when others step back — I think people like me shouldn't get all the credit. Maybe I wasn't shepherding the crowds at Homebush during the games, but I do my share. I'm a silent volunteerer. And there are thousands like me. Doing service gratis hither and yon. We do what we can to make the world a better place. Like writing stuff like this, or selling Green Left Weekly. Well, it's our year. (At least, I think it is.)

There are volunteers and volunteerers and I fear we latter types are going to miss out on the glory. I guess after a time, you just learn to live with it. I have. That's something I've had to come to terms with. You get over it. Get on with your life. So I don't need your consideration — or your hugs or kudos — but give me your ears! Yeah, listen up!:

What about all those forgotten volunteers — those unlike me who lack insight into their condition? The unsung and unheralded. All those forgotten volunteers of restructuring and corporatisation. It should be their year too. Golly, where would the Australian economy be without them!

If we can have a year for volunteers, I think it's right and proper to include those thousands of men and women who took voluntary redundancy. And what about the early retirees? All those who sacrificed their time to make Australia more profitable to do business in. Why aren't they marching in the parades? Where are the photos of these great and wonderful people sitting at home volunteering their time in front of the TV while the rest of us fight over the jobs that are left? They are the real volunteers. This year should be renamed the International Year for Volunteers and Superannuants.

So all you volunteers out there who opted out of the workforce deserve our respect. Australia has become a better place for your leaving industry's chores to others. We who have not as yet volunteered as you have salute you.

In 2001, we ask you all to remember the volunteers.

[This is an unpaid community service announcement.]


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