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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 9 March 1995) . . Page.. 8 ..


David Lamont put enormous energy and commitment into his committee work in this place, especially on planning matters. He was an able and supportive deputy to me, and his work as a Minister was truly remarkable, given his short tenure. I will draw special attention to his efforts to improve outcomes for people with a disability and for Housing Trust tenants; his concern for the environment, especially through waste management and energy reforms; and, of course, his enviable reputation as Minister for Sport. Annette Ellis was a tireless worker for the people of Tuggeranong, and her constant intercession on their behalf was often crucial in Government decisions on the provision of services and facilities. In particular, her work for Tuggeranong's young people produced real and tangible benefits. Annette's service on Assembly committees was also outstanding and, I am sure, will be missed by more than just her Labor colleagues. Ellnor Grassby served as a Minister in the First Assembly - and, I must say, as a very capable Minister. More recently, as a backbencher, she worked to help the many people who asked for her assistance. Mr Speaker, I do not believe that any member of this Assembly put more effort into meeting with and listening first-hand to the concerns of our community. My Labor colleagues and I will, of course, greatly miss David, Annette and Ellnor; but I believe that the Canberra community also owes them thanks for the service they gave.

Mr Speaker, the election last month contained a number of lessons for the Labor Party, and we will be heeding all of those lessons. In particular, we will be doubling and redoubling our already considerable efforts to listen to the community and to give them a real voice in the decisions which affect them. We will also be both vigilant and proactive in our concern for Canberra's environment, and I look forward to working with the ACT Greens MLAs on these issues. We will pursue our social justice objectives as best we can from opposition. I remain totally committed to working for real improvement in the lives of Canberrans, especially our disadvantaged and marginalised citizens.

Mr Speaker, the Labor team takes the role of opposition very seriously. We believe that a good opposition makes for better government because of its scrutiny of the representatives, policies, decisions and actions of the government. I have congratulated Mrs Carnell on forming a new government, and I wish her well in her task of providing government. Indeed, Mr Speaker, to do otherwise would be to deny the very real need of Canberrans for good government. However, I give notice to Mrs Carnell that my colleagues and I will not hesitate to point out the weaknesses in her leadership and her team - especially the contradictions for which she is rapidly becoming infamous and the divisions, the rivalry and the bitterness in her ranks. Furthermore, Mr Speaker, we believe that there are very few areas where the Liberal Party could claim that the electorate has given them a clear endorsement for their policies. Indeed, fully 60 per cent of the Canberra community did not vote for Liberal policies. So, I give notice also to the new Government that the Labor Party will be vigilant in ensuring that the more destructive Liberal promises are not implemented. We will not sit back and see productive public assets and necessary community services such as ACTEW, public housing and our public transport system dismantled, sold or given away for private profit. We will work with other members of the Assembly, with the union movement and with community organisations to ensure that the most dangerous of the Liberals' promises are never implemented.


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