Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 152 ..
Canberrans have a disproportionate say”. This was evidenced by his comments regarding a “certain generation of Canberrans” in February 2018. Chief Minister, what do you say about concerns raised by seniors that the non-existence of a dedicated seniors portfolio in your cabinet is more evidence of your disrespect for them?
MR BARR: It is a curious matter that the older you get the more this accusation is made. At one point I was verballed as saying that people over 40—even though I was over 40 myself—were people that I was not interested in. I simply made the observation that I wanted to hear more from younger Canberrans because their voices were not being heard. This has been spun around by those opposite and used to a degree of political effect to suggest that somehow that meant that because I wanted to hear more from young people that would be to the detriment of older Canberrans.
Let me be very clear. The views of all are welcome, but the government will go out of its way to include people whose voices have not been heard. There are so many opportunities for some Canberrans to participate and so few for others that I do see it as an important role of government and an important opportunity for this place, as I have throughout my career, to seek to address that imbalance.
We all know that the events that we turn up to, and the organisations, are dominated by particular cohorts. I think that it is incumbent upon us to go out of our way to try and include others. At various points in my career, that has meant going out of my way to ensure that the voices of LGBTIQ Canberrans have been heard when they have been pushed to the sidelines for so long, and it has meant at times going out of my way to ensure that the voices of younger Canberrans are heard. There is no disrespect to older Canberrans, but sometimes you need to do more for young people. (Time expired.)
MS LEE: Chief Minister, what measures have you undertaken to assist seniors groups and stakeholders in this ministerial transition and ensure that they know where best to raise concerns and seek additional resources?
MR BARR: As members would be aware, the administrative orders outline ministerial responsibilities. Minister Davidson, in her portfolio as Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, has responsibility for a range of community organisations, including seniors and veterans. Whilst it is possible to have an individual portfolio title for every possible area of interest of the community, that would lead to ministers having very long titles.
Ms Lee: Point of order, Madam Speaker.
MADAM SPEAKER: Point of order.
Ms Lee: The question was very specifically: “What measures have you undertaken to assist the groups?” The Chief Minister has not made that point.
MADAM SPEAKER: The Chief Minister is on a policy area and has time left.