Local Wagga citizen, Ronda Lampe had been concerned about people’s lack of respect for other people and other people’s property. She formulated a concept that she felt could be looked at by the local community to promote and educate the Respect Message. Firstly an approach was made to our Member of Parliament in early February 1997 and as a result of this discussion she then called a meeting on 8th April 1997. The meeting included a number of people who are leaders in the community or have areas of influence on people’s lives.

The various invites included leaders from within the Government, Community, Defence Forces, Schools etc. Ideas and concepts for the respect campaign were presented and all showed great interest and enthusiasm for a Campaign of this nature. The concept is to bring about a greater level of respect for people and property in our community, which in turn would have wide ranging benefits for everyone.

Respect Awareness is hoping “STOP AND THINK” will become synonymous with RESPECT. Following on the message was adapted to “STOP … THINK … RESPECT” and in 2006 this message was amplified by the addition of the words “… BECAUSE EVERYONE COUNTS”. At the Annual General Meeting in August 2015 the Group changed its name from TAAG – The Actions Awareness Group to Respect Awareness Inc. It was felt this name was more relevant to our campaign which was a campaign of Respect. It is all very well to say each family teaches its own children to do the right thing but unfortunately in reality that isn’t always the case therefore it has been necessary to use various ways of getting this message through to the majority of young children in the hope that some of these ideals and values will carry through as they become adults.

While some people may say the two elements of the idea sound very naïve, we must encourage families and communities to make some headway in educating the way people think and act. We will be paying dearly for inaction as Governments and Councils are going to be spending more money ‘fixing up’ the end result of vandalism. The community will continue to see alarming rises in the number of assaults, thefts, ram-raiding, graffiti, unsportsmanlike behaviour, bullying, disrespect in the workplace, the home, the school, etc.

The idea is to have catchy and imaginative posters put throughout the commercial areas, sporting clubhouses, Hotels and Clubs, Schools etc. Competitions can be run through Schools and the community for colouring-in and puzzle competitions, poetry competitions, drink coasters, jigsaws, board games, video games, comic strips, stubby holders, key rings etc. – the list is endless on how the imagination and creativity of the public can be captured to get the message through. While it is not going to fix everything, over time Respect Awareness believes it could re-educate people’s thinking and if ‘sold’ in the right way could have quite a big impact on communities and individuals. Raising public awareness and keeping this message to the forefront hopefully will make it harder for other people to do the ‘wrong thing’.

The cost to business, governments, people and families is huge because of people’s lack of respect for other people, their rights and their property. The cost for a campaign as outlined above would not cost a great deal in comparison to what it is presently costing councils and governments.