Page 3383 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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I, too, have known Helen for some time, I first met her around the turn of the century—which is frightening when you put it that way. Helen and I worked together at Greenpeace, here in Australia, from around 2001. Helen then joined my team when I was elected to the Assembly in 2008, in my role then as the Speaker. She was also a policy adviser and stayed on through the 2012 term, when we held the balance of power—just me. There were some fairly amazing adventures through that time.

I was reflecting when Minister Vassarotti spoke about Helen consulting on minimum energy performance standards. Back in around 2010 in my office we drafted a bill on minimum energy performance standards which we brought to the Assembly and were not successful in passing. I want to flag that the government is in the process of finalising now the passage of minimum energy performance standards for the territory. So, hopefully, Helen feels a little sense of legacy as she leaves the ACT that finally—and sometimes good reform takes a while—we have convinced enough members of this Assembly that this is a good idea, and it will shortly become the policy of the ACT government. So, Helen, rest assured, good things do finally land.

Helen is a very passionate and committed advocate, fired up for her cause. I want to take this opportunity, as she leaves to move to Melbourne, to thank her for her contribution to Canberra, to the ACT and to the cause of sustainability. It is often a long journey, as this story of minimum rental standards shows. Sometimes the victories come quicker than that, and sometimes they do take a lot longer. But Helen has been someone who has stuck to her guns on these issues. The territory is better off for her contribution, and we thank her for it.

Women’s rights in Iran

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (6.30): On Saturday night I attended the Persian Australian Community Association of Canberra’s Mehr celebration of the Iranian deity who represents friendship, affection and love. I would like to acknowledge those in the chamber tonight from the Canberra Iranian community. The Iranian community in Canberra and across the world are suffering. I have deep compassion for those people who have made Canberra their home but are desperately worried about family and friends in Iran.

Canberra is a city that celebrates and commits to valuing diversity and welcoming people. Our commitment to inclusion extends to all cultures, races, genders, sexualities and ages. We are very proud to be accredited as an established Welcoming City. This means that, when events happen across the world, our ACT community is affected. Being a Welcoming City means being one that supports each other through the good times and the difficult times, and I am here to express my solidarity with you all, as people take to the streets of Iran.

The scenes of protest across Iran, of women leading the uprising in Iran and across the world, have impacted me. What happened to Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police is horrifying. At 22 years old, Mahsa was at the beginning of her life. She should have been able to follow her dreams, with basic freedoms. To be detained for supposedly wearing her hijab incorrectly and then dying in custody is unthinkable to most Australians.

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