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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 November 2007) . . Page.. 3535 ..

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional owners, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Death of Judith Therkelsen

Motion of condolence

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Judith Therkelsen, a long serving public servant in the ACT and a former member of the Chief Minister’s Office and the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, and tenders its profound sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

Mr Speaker, like many Canberrans, I was saddened to learn of the recent death of Judith Therkelsen; it was so sudden. The day before she died, Judith and I spent a typical working hour together when I officially opened the Seniors Day Expo at Gorman House, which she had organised.

As head of the Office for Ageing in the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, Judith had been doing her usual conscientious job in the administration of an area that also happened to be very close to her heart. On this day, as always, she was warm, gracious and more than a little excited to be actively involved in running an event that gave every participant a lot back in return.

Of course, for well over three decades, Judith had applied herself with equal dedication to a range of important public sector areas. She was an exemplary public servant who will be sorely missed by her colleagues in her present department, and all those who worked closely with her over the years.

Judith began her career in the Department of Defence in 1972—the year the Whitlam government was first elected—as a steno-secretary or typist. Her probationary report is testimony to the fact that she immediately impressed both her bosses and her workmates, being described as steady and reliable, working well under pressure, getting on with everyone, and capably handling the more difficult and challenging tasks within the office. Such assessments recurred throughout her working life, but they strengthened, and grew more resonant, as her career blossomed and her prodigious talents began to be more effectively tapped.

In time, Judith moved to the Tertiary Education Commission and the ACT Schools Authority, where she began as a personal secretary and then moved through various positions to become the head of the ministerial liaison executive support unit. Here, Judith made an enormous impression as an officer capable of taking in her stride

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