Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (19 March) . . Page.. 9 ..
MS TUCKER: I ask for leave to make a statement.
MS TUCKER: I wish to inform the Assembly that I shall be taking my seat in the Assembly as a member of the ACT Greens.
MR SPEAKER: Under standing order 5A, the Leader of the Opposition shall be the leader of the largest non-Government party, with the consent of that member. As Mr Stanhope, as leader of the Australian Labor Party, is the leader of the largest non-Government party, I now seek his consent to being Leader of the Opposition.
MR STANHOPE: I give my consent to being Leader of the Opposition and ask for leave to make a statement.
MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, today is a new start - a new Assembly; a new Government and Opposition party; and, very significantly, forming that Opposition, a Labor Party with a new approach. It is a Labor Party with a new approach, not because three of its six members are newly elected, not because its two leaders are newly elected and on the floor of the Assembly for the first time, but new in the approach we will adopt in fulfilling our role and the style in which we will operate. The Opposition leadership team is reflective of that change - a conscious decision by my Labor colleagues to take that new direction. We, all six of us, are united in our determination to change the way in which we operate. Our commitment is to the people and the future of the ACT.
The period since self-government, particularly the adjustment to much reduced funding levels, has been difficult for Canberra; and there is still a considerable financial adjustment to be made. These circumstances have been compounded, of course, by the damage inflicted on the ACT by the relentless attack of Federal Liberal Government policies. Labor will work with the ACT community to return it to prosperity and security. We are well placed to lead that renewal. The Labor Party has a large membership which is well based in the community and has representatives in the Assembly who are close to the diverse activity that occurs in the Territory. With our members, we will renew our efforts to talk and listen to the community, to ensure we understand and are able to respond to their concerns and aspirations.
With them, and with those in this Assembly, we will work, among other things, to expand employment opportunities; to ensure unemployed people have access to appropriate support; to achieve greater security for those who are employed; to restore the value of family homes; to provide properly for those who find themselves in difficult circumstances; and to enhance environmental quality in Canberra. In this Assembly we will work willingly and cooperatively to achieve those ends. We will work with all members of the Assembly because we understand that, broadly, we all have the same aims.