None . . Page.. 7 ..
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MR SPEAKER: Under standing order 5A, the Leader of the Opposition shall be the leader of the largest non-Government party, with the consent of that member. As Ms Follett, as leader of the Australian Labor Party, is the leader of the largest non-Government party, I now seek her consent to being Leader of the Opposition.
MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I give my consent to being Leader of the Opposition, and I ask for leave to make a statement.
MS FOLLETT: I thank members. Mr Speaker, let me, first of all, congratulate you on your election. I am sure that you will endeavour to perform your tasks in a fair and impartial manner, and I can assure you that you will receive the support of Labor members for your actions on that basis. I would also like to extend my congratulations and those of my Labor colleagues to Mrs Carnell on her election as Chief Minister.
Mr Speaker, with the Assembly's indulgence, I wish to speak quite briefly about the record in government of my Labor team. It is a record I am very proud of. I am particularly pleased that we were able to fulfil virtually all of the commitments we gave to the people of Canberra in 1992. Our emphasis was on our social justice agenda, and I believe that we were able to make real improvements to the lives of many Canberrans who do not often come to public attention - for example, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, women and children needing protection from violence, the unemployed, the poor, the mentally ill and all those reliant on government services and assistance.
Throughout our period in government, Mr Speaker, the Territory's revenue suffered massive reductions in the Commonwealth contribution. In fact, our general revenue grant has been cut by almost half. I am, therefore, very proud that, in government, we were able to maintain and add to the community's services such as public housing, public transport, public health, education and municipal services. At the same time, I was concerned to ensure that the financial burden of our adjustment to State-type funding levels was spread equitably. Our success in achieving these competing outcomes is demonstrated by our top rating by both the Evatt Foundation and Standard and Poor's.
The achievements of Labor in government were the product of a united, intelligent and committed team. All of my Ministers, all of the Labor members, worked hard and long in the best interests of their community. I am greatly indebted to them for their efforts and their loyalty. This year's election has seen three of our Labor colleagues lose their seats in the Assembly. I wish to place on record my thanks to them for their service and my admiration for their achievements in office.