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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (17 April) . . Page.. 965 ..

Wednesday, 17 April 1996


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


MS REILLY (10.31): I seek leave to present my inaugural speech to the Assembly.

Leave granted.

MR SPEAKER: Before I call Ms Reilly, I wish to remind members that this is Ms Reilly's maiden speech and it is traditional that it be heard in silence.

MS REILLY: I am indeed proud to be standing here today making my inaugural speech to the ACT Legislative Assembly. Being a latecomer to this place, after the unexpected opportunity to represent the people in the Molonglo electorate, I am very glad that I have been given this opportunity. Being the first member to be elected to the ACT Assembly through the countback process of the Hare-Clark system of the new Electoral Act, I am happy to report that this process definitely works well. It was a great result. I was declared elected on 21 March, and I am sure that Mr Phillip Green, the ACT Electoral Commissioner, was also pleased to discover that the system does work. I must also mention Mr Green and his staff and thank them for their professional handling of the whole process of the countback. I am sure that the community also appreciates the system, as it did not require the expense of a by-election; but they still get a representative whom they voted for back in February 1995.

As a strong supporter of self-government, I am pleased to be able to participate in the ACT Legislative Assembly as an elected member. Through the Territory governments since 1989, the people of the ACT have had governments which are responsive to the needs of this community. Decisions about our education system, our health system, housing and planning matters and so on are made by us, the people of the ACT. There are various versions of who "us" really are, and there has not been full agreement on many decisions that have been made by the governments since 1989. But at least now the ACT community has an elected body which is making these decisions. These decisions are not made by a group of people who have no interest in the ACT, who visit occasionally and who are elected by people who are not residents of the ACT.

People continue to raise the halcyon days of the Commonwealth Government or, as the reality was, Commonwealth bureaucratic controls. It appears that then the sun always shone and rates never increased. But, as elected members of the Assembly, we must show leadership in persuading the community of the many benefits of self-government and the advantages which do flow to the ACT community.

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