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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3944..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

Above all, I value the friendship that I have developed with Kate over the years. Although over the last few months it has been strained, it is a friendship that I trust will continue. I wish you, Kate, well in the future and congratulate you for what you have done for Canberra.

Ms Kate Carnell


MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.10): Mr Speaker, I guess I have ended up in this place as the new chum of the Liberal Party and primarily I am here because of Kate Carnell. Kate came to the Chisholm polling booth on election day in February 1995 and was just so positive about what might occur. She was certainly the major reason for my thinking, "Well, damn it, I'll give the Canberra by - election a go." And so I had this wonderful introduction to politics courtesy of Kate.

Losing my seat in 1996 was a bit of a downer. Kate said, "Well, that's okay. Come down to where we do the real work, because you will really enjoy it." And she was right. I love what I do and I love being down here, and much of that is because I got to work with Kate. I would thank you for the trust that you have had in me in making me a minister as a new MLA and for all that you have taught me.

A thesaurus of positives would list, under the definition of Carnell, words such as inspirational, passionate, motivated, dedicated, involved, genuine, courageous, supportive, compassionate, caring, thinking and a fighter. I think that tremendous combination of words that you could string together about Kate could be summarised as "great woman, great leader, great friend, great fun, great mum, great lady, great Canberran and great Australian".

It is the great woman bit that I want to finish on tonight. As you would all know, I am the father of teenage twin daughters and when I look around for examples when I say to my girls, "Grow up and be like that," the first person that springs to mind is my mother and the second is Kate Carnell. I say this because on a Saturday morning early in the piece I came into the Assembly with my daughters, who were then 121/2 years of age, and a group of their friends. Kate was going off to her next function but she stopped and took the time to talk to them. One of the girls said, "Wow, that's Kate Carnell." What I found really appealing was her ability to inspire young people, particularly young women; that she would stop and talk to them and prove to them that you could be yourself and get on with life and make a difference. As a father I have to say I am very grateful.

It is not so much that Kate has pushed the glass ceiling - I think in most cases she has shattered it. As Gary has said, and as I think we have all said in our own way, in different fields - whether it be in respect of COAG or, in Paul's case, in respect of wooing over young children - Kate has broken and shattered the glass ceiling, and I think for all Australian women that is a tremendous thing to have done. To be the longest serving female leader, to be the longest serving ACT female politician, is something that I suspect generations of Canberra women certainly will be grateful of for many years. I think that at the time of the next election they will not forget what was done to you.

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