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Mr Speaker, I wish to touch on two matters which concern all members of this Assembly. Firstly, Labor believes that the Assembly's committee system has been one of our great strengths as a parliament - not least because committee work enables all MLAs to participate in research, consultation with the community, debate and decision-making on issues where they have a special interest or expertise. Notwithstanding Michael Moore's Machiavellian antics, Mr Speaker, we will not stand by and watch a diminution of this important structure; nor will we accept a departure from the fair and equitable representation on committees for all parties and Independents that our standing orders require. Secondly, Mr Speaker, I consider that it is the duty of every person elected to public office to ensure that their personal standards and behaviour maintain the dignity and professionalism of their office. I will be moving at an early date that the Assembly develop and adopt a code of ethics for MLAs, to make it clear that we accept no less a standard than we have, for instance, recently legislated for the ACT's public service. I look forward to the cooperation of all members in this task.

Finally, Mr Speaker, I would like to place on record my grateful thanks and those of all of my Labor colleagues to the many public servants who have so ably supported us during our period in government. It has been a great pleasure working with those professional, hardworking and dedicated people. Also, to my own personal staff and those of other Ministers, our grateful thanks are due and will be made probably more eloquently and more privately in the not too distant future.


MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR MOORE: Firstly, Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate all members on becoming members of this Assembly today, and I certainly welcome the new members. I congratulate you, Mr Speaker, for taking on that role, which I believe you will perform in as fair and equitable a way as you performed the role of Deputy Speaker. My congratulations go also to the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for their election to those positions.

Mr Speaker, I would like to declare that I will be here in this Assembly as an Independent. I certainly intend to remain that way over the next three years, as I have done in the past. I am very disappointed that I am not able to be accompanied here on the cross benches by Helen Szuty, who I believe made an incredibly positive contribution to the Canberra community. All members who worked with Helen Szuty on committees and who negotiated with her would recognise the contribution she made to social justice in the Canberra community. However, I certainly look forward to working with members on the cross benches, in the Opposition and in the Government.

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