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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (28 April) . . Page.. 29 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Labor will be here for the people of Canberra to ensure that the Government's targets for the provision of community services are appropriate and that the Government is held accountable for reaching those targets. We will also work with other members of this Assembly to ensure that public assets such as ACTEW and ACTTAB are not sacrificed to the Liberal philosophy of "sell it off at any price and at any cost".

We in the Labor Party do not underestimate the difficulties ahead. As we take up the daunting task, we are strengthened by three facts. First, in the ACT we have Australia's most intelligent electorate; second, in Canberra there is always great underlying support for Labor's objectives of social justice; and, third, nobody, not least members opposite in the Government, should ever underestimate Labor's capacity for self-renewal and re-invigoration. Time and time again in our nation, Labor's capacity for self-renewal and its resilience have been tried, tested and proven. If I may, without impertinence, quote the words of the greatest Canberran of them all, Gough Whitlam, when he came to the leadership of the Australian Labor Party after the worst defeat of its history in 1966:

We should be under no illusions about the extent of our defeat. Facing the reality is the best way forward. Now is the time. Let us now begin.

MR RUGENDYKE (11.09): Mr Speaker, I thank the electors of Ginninderra for giving me the opportunity to serve the community in this Assembly. I have been elected on a platform of commonsense and a knowledge of what is expected to effectively represent the views of the constituents. I believe that there is a vast difference between being a politician and being a good local member. A good local member is in touch with the electorate. A good local member is always accessible to the community. A good local member is sensitive to and aware of the problems families endure in day-to-day life. Most importantly, a good local member strives to make a difference and contribute whatever possible to help the community grow and prosper. It is a huge honour for me to accept this responsibility. I have been in the ACT since I was five years old. I am proud of this city and I am proud to say that I am a Canberran. This is a wonderful place in which to raise a family, and I want to ensure it remains that way for our grandchildren and generations after them. I have been a police officer for the last 17 years. During that time I have developed a deep interest in families, children and youth. I see this new post as a progression of that role. I aim to continue looking after the welfare of ordinary people, but at the same time I recognise the importance of the economic direction entrusted in the Assembly to ensure we lay the platform for a prosperous long-term future.

I entered the election campaign under the umbrella of the Osborne Independent Group, and I thank Mr Osborne for the opportunity. As it turns out, Paul and I have fairly similar views on most issues but recognise that we will, on occasions, hold differing views. It is for this reason that I have declared myself an Independent member. I believe that during the election campaign I was branded by the media as being too far to the right. I feel that this has been somewhat unfair, given that my focus has always been on social justice and welfare. I have an intimate knowledge of these areas and I am determined to utilise this expertise as the Independent member for Ginninderra.

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