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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 1360..


course we all know the role that spouses play in politics, and Valerie would surely have been a great support during those years of service.

John's father, Major General Sir Neville Reginald Howse VC, KCB, KCMG was Australia's first Victoria Cross recipient. Valerie and her family gathered at the Australian War Memorial just last year to pay tribute to Sir Neville, whose story is now told in the Hall of Valour.

Valerie was renowned for her parties and fundraising ability. I understand one of the first big events she was responsible for was an Elizabethan ball held in Canberra on behalf of the Red Cross in 1954. The ball coincided with the Queen's visit to Canberra, and members of the Queen's staff, Sir Robert and Dame Pattie Menzies and Lord Bruce were all guests at the event.

The other cause close to Valerie's heart was the restoration of historic buildings in Venice, following the devastating floods of 1970 that wreaked havoc on the city's treasured buildings. Valerie spent many years raising thousands of dollars for restoration work in the great city of Venice and was responsible for the formation of the Australian Committee for Venice.

For her work the Italian government of the day awarded Valerie the order of merit for the Italian republic and bestowed the title of Il Cavaliere. This title is awarded for "merit acquired by the nation"in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities.

In the Queen's birthday honours awarded in 1985 Valerie received the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to international relations through her service to the Australian Committee for Venice.

Valerie leaves behind a wonderful legacy in her charitable work and contribution to Canberra society as well as a loving family, including her sons and daughters-in-law Robert and Prue, Jonathan and Jenny, and Charles and Debra; grandchildren Sarah, Alexander, Belinda, Sophie, David, Isabel and Oliver; and great-grandchildren Olivia, Juliette, Andrew, Benjamin, William, Joey, Valentina and Annabelle.

I acknowledge the family and friends in the gallery today and share in this time of admiration and of mourning.

Dr Jim Watterston

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (5.12): I rise tonight to congratulate Dr Jim Watterston, Director-General of the ACT Directorate of Education and Training, on his new appointment as the deputy secretary of school education in the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Jim loved the opportunity that we provided here in Canberra to afford him the possibility of leading and developing the ACT public education system, the highest


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