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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020 2020) . . Page.. 53 ..

I am also very happy to be sharing this moment with my family, who have always been supportive, despite the missed time with them. Thank you, Ashley, Sophia, Juliet and William for coming on this journey with me. It was my daughter Sophia who gave me the push I needed to join the Greens six years ago, when she herself joined. The actions taken by young people to try and solve problems as big as the future of our planet, our society and our democracy are the reason I have hope for our future and why I believe 16-year-olds should have the right and the choice to vote.

Over the course of the 2020 campaign, everyone in this Assembly talked about wanting to make Canberra a better place. But it is what we do that really matters. Words without action mean nothing. Where there is common ground between what our Greens team committed to during the election campaign and what my Assembly colleagues from other parties said they wanted for our city, I expect that we will work together for the common good of everyone in our community.

To any of my Labor or Liberal colleagues who put politics above progressing towards a more equal, fair and respectful Canberra and care for our planet, I will not be angry with you; I will be disappointed. Doing politics differently means holding ourselves to a higher standard of integrity.

Seeing the election results come in on the night of Saturday, 17 October was beyond anything I had prepared for. I told Shane I would need to go for a bit of a walk to clear my head on the Monday, and he said I could have 24 hours. So I drove to the old Jerilderie stock route near the farm where I grew up, where there is no mobile phone access, just blue sky and red earth.

As I walked, I saw the same wildflowers that would have been growing there when my grandfather was a drover almost a century ago. I saw eagles like the one that lived in my dad’s grain shed. I thought about the contribution to biodiversity of having open grasslands that are protected from overgrazing and development and what it means to hold onto that connection between what we do here in the short moment that is a human lifetime and the places that have been here forever. This is something our First Nations people know and understand all too well.

I come to this place after many years working in the community on housing affordability, economic inequality, women’s health and ending violence against women. I have campaigned to protect green spaces and for public education and health care. Everything is connected, and the only way through hard times is together. This is the way my parents and my country upbringing taught me.

In the town where I grew up, there were more community associations than buildings because people working together is what builds a community. It is why I followed the example set by my parents and started volunteering as a teenager. I have lived in Canberra for over 25 years now, coming here after finishing high school, but that spirit of volunteering and being of service to my community continues.

When we talk about improving public transport, I think about a woman in Lanyon trying to get the kids to school on time and herself to a minimum wage job in Civic

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