Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . .
Esther found what I described as her calling—to fight for the rights of people with a disability to access the same opportunities as everyone else. Jack was born in Canberra and despite no apparent problems at birth, he had severe autism and epilepsy and he died in 2008. As a testament to her strength and courage, Esther continued to fight for the rights of people with a disability. Prior to Jack's death, Esther began to plan for his future as an adult. I am sure she would not mind if I acknowledge that as part of her commitment for change she made a submission to the Standing Committee on Health, Community and Social Services' inquiry into respite services.
Esther was the president of the ACT Community Living Project, a not-for-profit community organisation which seeks services for people with a disability, particularly those with moderate to severe intellectual disability, many of whom have physical and health challenges.
Esther was determined to engage with government and community to see how we could make life better for people with a disability. It is my belief that Esther contributed to changes across disability and that these changes would not have come into effect without the determination and contribution of people like Esther Woodbury and parents and families fighting for a better life for their children.
Today I pay tribute to Esther for her incredible fortitude and determination in fighting for not only better outcomes for her son, Jack, but a better life for people with a disability. She was striving to make the world a better place, a monumental task for many, and all who try should be recognised in this place. My thoughts are with her and her family and her friends.
National Australia Day Council
MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.43): I rise tonight to talk about the National Australia Day Council. As many would know, the National Australia Day Council is a federal government organisation tasked with overseeing the Australian of the Year Awards as well as promoting and advertising the celebration of Australia Day. The council also organises the Australia Day concert, which is held every year on the lawns of Old Parliament House. I had the pleasure this year of attending the concert, which featured Australian acts such as Paul Kelly, Jessica Mauboy, Sheppard and Drawing North.
Each year the council works with its state and territory affiliates to find 32 candidates, one from each state and territory, to compete for four different awards—the Australian of the Year, the Senior Australian of the Year, the Young Australian of the Year and Australia's Local Hero. This year, as always, the ACT had four candidates in the running, one in each category. These four individuals were named after winning their respective categories at the ACT Australian of the Year awards held in November last year. I congratulate the Canberrans who were nominated and on their achievements as being an ACT Australian of the Year.
Damian De Marco, a child sexual assault campaigner, was nominated as Australia's Local Hero. Patrick Millis was nominated as Young Australian of the Year. We all know Patrick has achieved wonderful things in his basketball career, culminating in an NBA championship win with the San Antonio Spurs last year. Sandra Mahlberg, a
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