I rise to mention a vital service for not only Victorians but all Australians experiencing various difficulties in life. The Lifeline service began in 1963 after the late Reverend Dr Sir Alan Walker received a call from a distressed man who days later took his own life. Only days after the service was established, Lifeline was receiving over 100 calls daily. While I make this statement, people all over Australia are calling Lifeline in need of help. Over 450 000 calls are answered annually by Lifeline volunteers.
On 21 September I, with the Minister for Mental Health in the other place, attended the Lifeline Geelong annual general meeting for 2007. At the meeting several volunteers were acknowledged for their years of service, ranging from one year of service to a phenomenal 20 years of service by one volunteer.
More than 100 000 people volunteer at Lifeline. Without these people Lifeline would cease to exist and the many people who rely on advice, counselling and guidance or who simply want someone to listen to their problems would miss out on this essential service. I believe we need to give some thought to the fact that when we are safely tucked in our beds at night there are Lifeline volunteers leaving their homes and families to go to a Lifeline centre to work through the night to assist others. I wish to congratulate and show appreciation to all volunteers for their tireless efforts and contribution in fulfilling these roles.