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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4936..


MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

(2) the foregoing provisions of this resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.

The motion provides that Mr Kaine, or in his absence Mr Wood, may serve in the office of Speaker during the period that the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly are absent from the Assembly between 26 December 1996 and 22 January 1997.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion (by Mr Humphries) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Ms Rosemary Follett

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (12.25 am): I rise in this adjournment debate to pay tribute to the enormous contribution made to the ACT and to self-government in the ACT by Rosemary Follett, who earlier today announced her resignation from this Assembly. I think that this final session for 1996 should not pass without all members reflecting on Rosemary's achievements and tremendous perseverance over the last eight years since the first ACT elections. In the history of the ACT a special place will always be reserved for Ms Follett, the ACT's first Chief Minister and the first woman to head an Australian government. I think that is something that we all should be proud of here in the Assembly.

While history will always record that significant achievement, it was in many ways an unenviable position to have at that time. I do not suppose anyone could forget the difficulties, and sometimes more, that existed in those first ACT elections and the volatile political mix that those elections produced. To wait two months for a result must have been very difficult. There are a number of people here who suffered that two months' wait. Ms Follett was elected Chief Minister heading up a Government with only five members out of 17. Knowing how difficult that can be with somewhat more than five, I fully appreciate how that must have been an extremely testing time for even the toughest politician.

Through that very stormy period of ACT politics, Ms Follett maintained her faith in self-government, as she did for many years before that with you, Mr Speaker, Mr Kaine and other people in this place who pushed very hard for self-government for a very long time. She retained her faith that self-government was the way to go for the ACT. She believed very strongly that self-government would achieve much better outcomes for the people of Canberra. It is to Ms Follett's great credit that, both in government and in opposition, she stuck with the task of making sure that self-government survived and was taken seriously by the Canberra community and, very importantly, by the nation as a whole.


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