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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (31 March) . . Page.. 1531..


Tuesday, 31 March 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional owners, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Death of Ms Margaret Spalding OAM

Motion of condolence

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Margaret Spalding OAM, a tireless worker who strove to improve the life of those who are unable to advocate for themselves, and tenders its profound sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

Mr Speaker, there are individuals whose contribution to their community is so profound and so generous in spirit that their loss leaves us wondering how such an absence can ever be compensated for. Last week the Canberra community lost such an individual with the untimely death of Margaret Spalding. I offer my deepest condolences to Ms Spalding's family, including her children and grandchildren and her brothers and sisters, as well as to the many, many Canberrans who counted her as a friend, an advocate, a colleague and a champion.

Margaret Spalding's professional life was one of service from first to last. For the bulk of her career, that service was rendered to some of the most vulnerable in our community, Canberrans living with disabilities. Margaret Spalding's was a service that was grounded in a position of simple principle—the principle that each of us deserves to live a life of dignity, respect and opportunity; that each of us deserves the opportunity to contribute to our community through our labour; and that each of us deserves to engage in the social, intellectual, economic and creative life of our community, to the extent of our capacity and our desire to do so.

That is a simple enough philosophy, but one that required all of Margaret Spalding's persuasive powers, all of her inspirational qualities, to make a reality for Canberrans living with disabilities. She had a way of drawing people with her and into her plans, a way of getting to those who yield genuine power in this community, those with the capacity to do most in practical terms to ensure that her advocacy bore fruit.

In wielding that power, she effected something quite extraordinary—the creation of a genuine and sincere spirit of private and corporate philanthropy that we do not often associate with this young city. While this support has been indispensable, Margaret knew that what each of us desires above all in life is not the charity of strangers but the fulfilment that comes from contributing to our community and from having our contribution respected and treated with the dignity that elevates it beyond mere labour.


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