Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4939 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
During the years that Rosemary was Chief Minister she brought almost a dignity to the job that I always admired. I think that, by her very nature and the way she went about the business of being Leader of the Opposition, Chief Minister or whatever job she had at the time, she made a major contribution to the level of acceptance that this body has today. I know that there are still people who would rather we were not here, but there is a much broader acceptance of the organisation today than there was in 1989. I think Rosemary has contributed a great deal to the achievement of that. She has made a major contribution through public service to the Territory, and I think that the place is the better for her having held positions of responsibility. I am pleased that she is not leaving entirely. I talked about her ability and her willingness to negotiate and discuss issues. I think that will be the characteristic that will serve her well in her new job, which I notice has to do with conciliation. I think she will be excellent in that job.
The place will not be quite the same with Rosemary gone. She is one of the people who have been here for a long time. We have to get used to the fact that the old people - not that she is old - the longer-serving people, are going one by one. I personally wish Rosemary well. I think she will do the job that she is going to as well as she has done the jobs that she has held over the last eight years. She will bring a new strength and make a great continuing contribution to the wellbeing of this Territory in her new job. I personally wish her well.
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (12.38 am): I join with my colleagues in farewelling Rosemary Follett. Rosemary was not only the first Chief Minister of the Territory but also the first female head of any Australian government. Trevor has spoken of the dignity she brought to the job. Being on the other side of the political fence, I have had a number of arguments with Rosemary. I recall that in the first few months of the Assembly, when I was the Opposition legal spokesman and she was the Attorney-General, we had many arguments. She vehemently opposed, I think wrongly, the move-on powers I successfully introduced.
Rosemary was a very competent Chief Minister and brought dignity to the role of Chief Minister. Paul Whalan, when he retired from this Assembly in about April or May 1990, referred to her serene leadership. I think that was a very apt description. I think we could have done a lot worse than have Rosemary Follett as our first Chief Minister in the difficult times of self-government in 1989 and 1990. She brought a lot of ability to the job and showed a lot of calibre as Chief Minister. She has always had a very great interest in human rights and, I think, is very well qualified for the new job that she is going to. I personally wish her well. I have enjoyed serving in the same Assembly with her. We, of course, have not agreed on a lot of things; but I respect the ability she has shown as Chief Minister, as a member of this Assembly and more lately as a very fierce representative of the rights of her constituents of the electorate of Molonglo. I will miss the very strong letters and representations Rosemary has made in relation to her constituents. I wish her well. Her leaving here is a sad loss to the Territory, but of course there is life after politics.