Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, the Knights of Malta, Grand Priory of Australia, Adelaide Commandery

Wednesday 01 July, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (17:27): Today I wish to speak about the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, the Knights of Malta, Grand Priory of Australia, Adelaide Commandery, and the recent investiture ball that I attended at the weekend. I want to talk about the event, the men and women who were appointed as knights and dames, and about the fundraising activities that they have done as well.

We were welcomed to the function after an earlier church ceremony by the master of ceremonies, Lady Rosaria Cusumano OSJ, as well as Father Lauro Rufo who did grace that day. I congratulate and warmly extend my best wishes to the newly appointed knights and dames who shared in the special occasion at the investiture: Chevalier Joseph Borrelli OSJ, Chevalier Charles Figallo OSJ, Chevalier Steve Maras OSJ, Chevalier Mario Romaldi OSJ, Lady Michelle Wallis OSJ, Chevalier Mark Bourchier OSJ, Chevalier Dr Creston Magasdi OSJ, Lady Rosalie Rotolo-Masson OSJ and Chevalier Pat Scalzi OSJ (or Pasquale as he is otherwise known).

Obviously, all of these people have now made certain vows to wear the Christian Maltese Cross of eight points to constantly remind them of the vows that they have agreed to. In terms of the history of the order, obviously it is an ancient order in some respects and certainly, if you look way back, the politics of the eastern Mediterranean region during the eras in and around that of the Crusades was quite complicated. With the Byzantine Empire in decline, there were few major countries and many minor principalities at the time.

Power was not necessarily linked to location, and one of the most powerful political organisations in the late Middle Ages was the order of St John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitallers, whose ranks were filled by scions of the richest aristocratic families of Europe. Today, however, although the Knights, like the Christian church in some respects, are split into many orders, this particular order is certainly true to the original tradition and operates under the royal protection of HIRH Sandor Habsburg-Lothringen, as well as many others.

I commend them for the beneficial works and current charity projects that this order undertakes and I draw the attention of the house to some of these. The Order of St John has certainly been made aware of the extraordinary work that has been done before and they continue to do wonderful things in the community; one is their appeal to help in the Nepal disaster relief project. I am pleased to say the proceeds of Saturday night's ceremony were donated to this very worthy cause, and many in the community also chipped in.

It is fantastic to see this philanthropy in the community. Many people, especially successful business people, are doing good things with their profits. They are putting them back into the community and into good causes like this, and the order certainly has an ongoing commitment to good charitable causes, some of them in Australia and some of them overseas. I thought I would touch on some of the things they are still doing to this day; one of them is contributing to the fight to help uncover the genetic cause of childhood leukaemia—a fantastic cause for which this group is certainly doing much fundraising.

As well as that, there have been a number of charitable beneficiaries in the past—the Australian Red Cross, the Armenian Refuge Appeal, Australian Heart & Lung Transplant Association, Boys Town, CareFlight, Camp Quality, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Child Abuse Prevention Services, Children's Leukaemia & Cancer Institute of Australia, Dianne Camilleri Appeal, Epilepsy Association, and the Exodus Foundation, Ashfield.

They have also supported the Giant Steps school for autistic children, Helping Hand Adelaide, Father Chris Riley's Youth off the Streets, the Healthcare Outreach Reconstructive Program in Nepal, International Red Cross, Lifeline, Life for Africa Foundation, Maltese Elderly Association, Matilda Rose Early Intervention Centre, the Missionaries of the Poor in the Philippines, and the Nagrizia Missionary Sisters in Central Africa.

Other charitable beneficiaries include: Overseas Specialist Surgeons of Australia Inc., Professor David Morris Liver Cancer Research Fund, Republic of Honduras (medicines), the Royal Alexandria Hospital for Children Neuro Surgery Department, Royal North Shore Hospital Physiotherapy Department, Royal South Sydney Community Health Complex (bladder scan instruments), the Salvation Army, Scalabrini Village Nursing Homes (four laser therapy units) and also the Snow family for their son's cancer treatment, and so forth.

I want in particular to talk about three gentlemen who were newly appointed as Knights at the weekend. The first, Mr Charles Figallo, is a very successful entrepreneur who is very passionate about the oil, gas and mining industry. He has done great things for South Australia. I commend him for his past work bringing business into South Australia. He is a strong advocate and champion who wants to see South Australia do well in this area. It is really good to see that Charles is a man who is doing well and making money but who is also putting it to good use by contributing to the wonderful causes that these Knights engage in.

The second gentleman I wish to talk about is Mr Mario Romaldi, who is obviously known to many in the house. He is the general manager of Romaldi Constructions, one of South Australia's top 100 companies, which has been operating in South Australia since 1959 in many sectors, including the commercial and industrial sectors. It has grown slowly but surely and steadily. It is certainly managed by a professional and enthusiastic team, and it has become an industry leader.

His company's foremost position in the construction sector has certainly led to the development of an array of industry alliances. It is fantastic to see that Mr Mario Romaldi, whose team has been involved in a number of recent projects, I note, all across the state: The Heights middle school, Glengowrie tram depot, Henley Surf Life Saving Club, Port Noarlunga Primary School, Marryatville High School, Riverland Special School and Ashford Special School.

I note that Mr Romaldi is also a gentleman who is not afraid to put his hand in his pocket and support good philanthropic charitable causes. I think we, as members of parliament, and successful business people should be doing that as well to make sure that they make this world a bit better as they come through it; especially if they have been given the gift of being able to put their intelligence to good use and to make a profit legally, they should certainly be putting it back into the community, and Mr Mario Romaldi is certainly doing that as well.

Thirdly, I would like to talk about Mr Steve Maras, the managing director and CEO of Maras Group. Many would be aware that Steve Maras is also a gentleman who engages in many philanthropic and charitable causes. I first met Steve in my earlier work as a councillor, and it is good to see that Steve has also been able to put his hand in his pocket and support many of these causes over the years.

In closing, I want to bring the house's attention to this function I attended. The order is a fantastic one, and it is fantastic that this tradition has continued and that they continue to support a number of charitable causes. When pulled together, if you look at what they have achieved over the years, and when you look at what they are still trying to achieve in the future, the world is definitely a better place because this order got together, and I commend them for their good charitable work in the community.