Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 686 ..
should wear his outburst as a badge of honour. If this thin-skinned leader is so annoyed with you, I would suggest it means that you are doing a fine job. So, please, take this attack and use it as motivation to work even harder. If you need to be critical, be critical, whether it be of us or them. Do your job to the best of your ability; face the bullies bravely; do not take a backward step. And know that even when you are critical of me and my party, we will respect you for doing your job.
This Assembly should send a very strong message to the Chief Minister that his words were unacceptable.
MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (11.22): Madam Speaker, I rise having listened carefully to try to find some places in the speeches by those opposite that I could agree with. I managed to find some quite early on, and then it went downhill after that.
Let me quote a couple of areas of clear agreement. The Leader of the Opposition said that the seniors in Canberra are a growing demographic. We would agree with that. He also said, “They have made an enormous contribution to our society.” We would agree with that. Not only would I agree with that, having been given the privilege, under this Chief Minister, of having the responsibility of being Minister for Veterans and Seniors, but we as a government agree with it.
Let me quote the Chief Minister. At the Gold Award presentation last week, he said, “This is a cause for celebration. We are the longest lived, we are the healthiest, we are the most educated and we are the most engaged community in Australia.” That was a celebration of our seniors. Far from there being a condemnation, this Chief Minister values, supports and has entrusted across this government the work to make sure that all people are valued.
We have talked too often about and should move beyond this area of seniors being a challenge in our community. I have heard that at times when the opposition have spoken about the difficulties that are being faced and the challenges that are being faced. We have to move past that. We have to move past understanding seniors as a challenge. Seniors are a great asset to our community. They not only contribute economically and from a broader community point of view but are great mentors and role models.
We in this city have the Senior Australian of the Year, and we affirm and celebrate his role this year. Last week, we joined in celebrating people receiving the Gold Awards whose lives in Canberra have made a marked positive contribution. It would seem as though only the shadow minister for seniors was out at the seniors expo and Seniors Week last week. Let me tell you that that is certainly not the case. Not only was I at a number of events; so, too, was the Chief Minister, celebrating and affirming the role of seniors in our community. It is no challenge but a great celebration that we have.
To affirm the place of one group of people in society does not imply the condemnation of another group of people in society. To say that we need to listen more carefully, more coherently, to people who may not engage as much with