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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4937 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

I know that Rosemary always took very seriously the trust and the faith that the people of Canberra placed in her as an elected representative. Throughout her public life she sought to repay that trust by working to achieve a fairer society. I am confident that in her new role she will continue to work to achieve a fairer society in the ACT. It is particularly appropriate that she should be departing from this Assembly to take up the position of the ACT's Discrimination Commissioner - a task for which, I believe and I hope, everybody in this Assembly believes that she is eminently qualified. I know that she will continue to serve the ACT diligently in that new role.

Mr Speaker, there are two further observations I would like to make about Ms Follett. From the experience of the last 10 months in having to deal with a Federal government of the same political persuasion, I now have a much greater understanding of some of the problems that Ms Follett must have experienced when dealing with the Federal Labor Government throughout the five years that she was Chief Minister. I am sure that Mr Kaine would agree with me that dealing with a government of the same persuasion while they continually cut funding to the ACT can be almost more difficult than dealing with a government not of the same persuasion.

Certainly, none of us are perfect, but I believe that Ms Follett has done an extremely good job for the ACT. I believe that she has worked extremely hard to make sure that the ACT retains the high levels of services that the ACT community require from us here in the Assembly, even at times when the amount of money that we have had to spend on those services has continually been reduced by various Federal governments.

Mr Speaker, politics is certainly a very strange game. I suppose we in this house can often be engaged in very public slanging matches; but I would like to put on record that I personally have a very great respect for Ms Follett and, in fact, a friendship with her. I believe that many here would share that view. I certainly would like to thank her for the many public and private chats over the years that have helped me do the job I am doing now and have done in the past.

There is no doubt that Ms Follett is very well qualified for the job that she is about to do. She has probably put as much into the ACT, particularly into self-government, as any other person has ever done. She will continue that job. I, for one, will be sorry to see her go from this place; but I know that the job that she will be doing in the future will serve the people of Canberra well.

Ms Rosemary Follett

MR WOOD (12.31 am): Mr Speaker, I want to join in this debate as one of a diminishing number of members of this Assembly who were here on the first day. I think there are now five who have had an unbroken record of eight years in this Assembly. We can add Mr Stefaniak, who has been in and out. Only those people can appreciate the extraordinarily difficult task that we faced. The targets that we were set in those first days have been met over and over again, and still the target of reaching self-sufficiency in financial terms has not yet been met. The original targets we were given were wrong. We have had to adjust year after year as the targets have changed.

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