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

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system, we need to ensure that all groups are heard and able to bring their unique experience and perspectives to the table.

It is an honour to serve in this place. May we continue to build a strong, inclusive Canberra.

Ms Hannah Watts

Thankyou, Madam Deputy Speaker, and fellow members of the Legislative Assembly, for this opportunity to make my inaugural speech here today. I would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners and continuing custodians of the land in which we meet today. I am grateful for support of my family, friends, colleagues, and the community.

It is traditional in these speeches to talk about our past, and our heritage, as if they are the things that define us. But I believe it is not only our history that defines us.

What we are doing right now, and what are doing for future generations, will define who we are, and the legacy we leave behind.

Canberra is a wonderful city to live in. It is the place where people from all over our country come together to talk, and make decisions. As a city, we need to be a place where people don't just raise the issues and debate the merits of an argument - we need to set an example of putting words into action.

We need to be a city of activism, not slacktivism.

I believe that we have a responsibility to the young people of this city. The decisions that we make in the coming weeks and years will have an ongoing impact on their lives, and on the future of this city.

We have a responsibility to not only listen to our young people, but also to understand their concerns, and to act in their best interests.

One of the key changes I will be fighting for is for the voice of young people in our community to be heard.

My experience as a youth worker has taught me that to truly hear what young people are saying, we need to do three things. We need to

      •     stop speaking ourselves

      •     give them the opportunity and the tools they need to speak up, and then

      •     act, with them, in a way that shows they had been heard.

As leaders and decision makers in this community, we must lead by example. If we can do that here in this place, the young people of our city will be empowered to keep speaking, to keep acting, and to keep changing.


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