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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 September 1995) . . Page.. 1452 ..


I make no bones about admiring that. Mr Speaker, I believe that in the way that she combined her many activities she was somewhat like the present Prime Minister's wife, Mrs Annita Keating. I have no doubt that Dame Pattie would turn in her grave if she could hear me say that.

I met Dame Pattie on just a few occasions. In doing so I was always struck by her warmth and the way that she could immediately strike up a rapport with anybody, regardless of their age, their background or their walk of life. She was a true citizen of the world. That is an extraordinary talent. Even as a very elderly lady she maintained her grasp on issues. She showed incredible lucidity, the ability to put an argument and the ability to conduct a conversation with anybody from any walk of life.

The last occasion on which I met Dame Pattie was only about three years ago, very shortly after she had moved back to Canberra in 1992. The occasion was the dedication of the stand at Manuka Oval. The Cricket Association was dedicating the stand to Sir Robert Menzies and to Mr Bob Hawke. Dame Pattie was present on that occasion. She was able to give everybody present the benefit of her wit and her wisdom. Whether they were on Bob Hawke's or Dame Pattie's political side, they were all made to feel that she had something to say to them, was very pleased to be there, and overwhelmingly was very pleased to be back in Canberra.

The aspect of Dame Pattie's character that I always admired the most, and I still do, was her dedication to the city of Canberra. From its earliest days she recognised that this was not just the seat of Federal Parliament. It was not just the city that so many politicians came to reluctantly to conduct essential political business and escaped from as soon as they decently could. Dame Pattie always recognised that Canberra was a city with its own community, that that community had very real needs and that the families which made up that community were every bit in need of effective government support for the services and facilities that they required as were the community of any other city. As well as that, I think she had a real affection for Canberra. I know that she liked the four seasons of Canberra; I know that she liked the planning of Canberra. I believe that Canberra owes a great deal to Dame Pattie.

In many ways Dame Pattie strikes a nostalgic chord with a lot of us because she is a reminder of a much gentler era, an era of greater certainty, an era of greater safety and an era when graciousness was expected and greatly admired in people in leadership positions. That era has long gone now and we live in much harsher times, much more combative times. Dame Pattie, even late in life, was able to remind us of that gentler era, so she is indeed a great loss.

Mr Speaker, the Opposition joins with the Government in this motion of condolence. We certainly extend our best wishes to Dame Pattie's daughter, Heather, and to her family in their loss. As the Chief Minister has said, the loss of Dame Pattie is also a very real loss for Canberra.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.


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