As we all know, the social event of the year is being held tonight— Parliament House's night of nights: the Midwinter Ball. It is, of course, hotly contested, with thousands of people applying for tickets every year, and only a couple hundred of tickets available.
It is a chance to catch up with colleagues and friends and to have a bit of fun. But it is also about so much more. Since the first Midwinter Ball in 2000, almost $3 million has been raised for charity. And many of those charities are in the ACT and in my electorate of Canberra. Last year $100,000 was donated for Soldier On; $30,000 to Motor Neurone Disease NSW-ACT; $30,000 to Muscular Dystrophy NSW-ACT; and $30,000 to Cystic Fibrosis ACT. In previous years other ACT and Canberra organisations and charities have also benefited, including Marymead Child and Family Centre, MS Society of the ACT, Red Cross ACT and Autism Asperger ACT.
A huge amount of work goes into organising an event like the Midwinter Ball—as we know, it is huge—and I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the panel and, in fact, the entire press gallery, for the effort they put into it. I look forward to catching up with everyone tonight and I hope we exceed all expectations in the amount of money we raise for community organisations.
I shopped locally for my frock and I am looking forward to wearing a beautiful Zilpah Tart dress.