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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
105 ‘hi mum and dad, can’t receive my award i’m helping people in hell’ d d, l 0 d y d y my y e y d y y international aid WHEN DISASTER STRIKES ALMOST ANYWHERE, AN AUSSIE WILL USUALLY BE AMONG THE FIRST ON THE SCENE. BY JULIETTA JAMESON When Alison ompson was named in the 2010 Australia Day honours list, she wasn't in ready contact with her parents to share the pleasure. Instead, she was in post-disaster Haiti, tending to the desperate. But she did manage to get a note out to her parents via the internet. "Hi Mum and Dad -- I won't be around when they announce my award on January 26. I am with Sean Penn, Diana Jenkins, Oscar (Gubernati) and 15 doctors embedded in the 82 Airborne (USA). Dante would describe it as hell here ... ere is much infection and it feels like the job is too big." Undeterred, Alison planned to stay in Haiti for the long haul, assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees with essential humanitarian aid in the a ermath of the earthquake. Australians pride themselves on lending a helping hand. Giving everyone "a fair go" is, perhaps, one of the most o en quoted traits of the nation. When the call has come, Australia has stepped in, supporting allies in con ict and commi ing long- term to regional peacekeeping and rescue relief. Australia's "Diggers", its ser ving men and women, are of legendary compassion, sensitivity, heroism and endurance. e 2010 Young Australian of the Year, Trooper Mark Donaldson, is typical. Fairfax Photos