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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . .

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that each person can live a full life. Education is the key to ensuring that all Canberrans can thrive and contribute to making Canberra the best place it can be.

Thank you.

Ms Sarah Jewell

Madame Deputy Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to address the Assembly today in my maiden speech. I would like to begin by acknowledging that we're meeting on the land of the Ngunnawal people, and pay my respects to the Elders - past, present, and future.

This week, there has been much media coverage of the OECD's analysis that Canberra is the world's best city. It's great to hear the conversations, reflections, hopes and dreams that have been prompted by this label. Everyone will have their own opinion of whether we have earned the label of the world's best city. But I think we have much to be proud of in this city; this bush capital of ours.

Canberra is a beautiful melting pot of urban and country - we have the benefit of living in a modern city, but we're still connected to the land and the bush. Canberrans are generally well educated and have access to good jobs. This is a place where ideas and innovation can be fostered; where it's ok to be fascinated by the world around you, and actively find your place in it.

I can think of few other places in Australia where the halls of power are so accessible to the general public - in Canberra, participation in democracy is so much more than voting every three years. Decision makers are at your local coffee shop, and on the radio talking directly to the public every two weeks. I came to Canberra as a wide-eyed university student in 2006, and have been under the city's spell ever since - and being able to chat to our country and our city's leaders while I was still a student played a big role in bringing the issues to life.

Canberra has a strong social justice heart - and I'm proud to live in a city that values diversity. These values have guided those who serve in this place to show leadership when it comes human rights issues like marriage equality.

But there is much more work to be done. The gap between the haves and the have nots continues to grow in Canberra. We need to work hard to make sure that all Canberrans have access to the benefits that we associate with living in this city. I am proud to have worked alongside incredible community workers and advocates in the community sector here in Canberra. I hope that my contribution to this Assembly will build on the work of those who go before me who have elevated the voices of the more disadvantaged and marginalised Canberrans.

If there's one thing that I want to achieve by the next election, it's to increase young women's participation in the political process. For the vibrancy of our political


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