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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4946..


Ms Rosemary Follett : Valedictory

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (1.07 am), in reply: Mr Speaker, to close the debate, let me say first of all that, as far as Ms Follett is concerned, I have been reflecting a little longer than most of the rest of you about Ms Follett's departure.

Mr Moore: For about two years.

MR HUMPHRIES: Not quite that long. It has occurred to me to wonder what the first three years of self-government would have been like had Ms Follett not been, for much of that period, Chief Minister or certainly in the Assembly as leader of the Government or Leader of the Opposition. It occurred to me that in many ways, despite the ups and downs of politics and the contesting of political points of view or ideologies, if you like, it was fortuitous for the Territory that there was a person with the great charm and the great presence that Rosemary Follett had to lead the first government of the Territory and to lead much of the Territory's government for the first five or six years of self-government. I have seen many times that great personal presence and that charm used to good effect. It was a charm which was capable of projecting itself on television screens and to the media and the community generally.

I think it is true to say that self-government is a slightly more secure concept in this Territory today because of the very great personal skills that Rosemary Follett was able to bring to this Assembly. Of course, she also brought great intellectual skills. She was a formidable debater and was capable of, in a sense, conducting herself - I use the term advisedly - ethically in this place. You always knew where you stood with Rosemary Follett. Those are the sorts of skills which I think it is important for the Territory to continue to use, in this case in her position as Discrimination Commissioner of this Territory.

Her career has been built on a number of themes, but one of them has certainly been a passion for advancing the status of certain groups of disadvantaged people in our community, particularly women, and a desire to make sure that the legal framework of protecting the rights of individuals like that should be strengthened. She is an ideal candidate for a position such as Discrimination Commissioner. I look forward to being able to work closely with her as Attorney-General.

Mr Speaker, I do want to touch a little on the usual theme of my Christmas speeches. It was pointed out to me after last year's speech, which came as quite a revelation to me, that viciousness is not one of the ingredients of Christmas cheer; so I will be much more kindly in making some suggestions this year. As I was listening to the debate on the Land Bill, I was flicking through this rather interesting Hollywell's Film Guide, and I have some suggestions about some movies that members might like to take out of the video library over the summer break and have a look at. Mrs Carnell and Mr Berry might like to borrow Gunfight at the OK Corral. Mr Whitecross, I thought, might enjoy Travels with My Aunt or, given the inheritance he has now taken on fully, Rosemary's Baby. Ms Tucker and Ms Horodny, How Green was My Valley.


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