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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1596 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

When the House of Assembly was abandoned - I think it was some time before self-government came - there was frustration in the community. The Trades and Labour Council was one organisation which was an important feature on the political landscape here. I remember the struggles over apartheid, occupational health and safety and those sorts of things which preceded self-government. For me, when my union colleagues said, "We think it would be a good idea if you entered politics", I said, "Not on your life, mate. I have a pension coming in a few years. I like the Fire Service and it looks all right to me. I am not sure what is going to happen in there". They said, "You will be right". I think I suffered from a common problem and when somebody said, "Who would like the job?" the others stepped back quicker than I did and I ended up with the job.

Seriously, I was quite proud to have been asked to come here and stand up not only on their behalf but for the people of the ACT. It has been a proud period of my life, and I thank all of those who have helped me in this place. I also welcome those who have not helped me in this place, because it has given me a little bit more steel.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (10.56): Mr Berry describes how he moved into the Legislative Assembly, and it is interesting how the union movement got rid of him. I just wish we had a House of Lords to move him to the next step. Mr Speaker, I will be looking back somewhat but not quite as far as my colleague Mr Stanhope did when he referred to Julius Caesar and Mr Humphries did when he referred back to the time of Pericles. I would like to go to the very first speech that I made in the Legislative Assembly, which was on 23 May 1989. I said at that stage:

It seems to me that the whole democratic nature of this system is in question. When we have a system of government and opposition, there are certain aspects about that balance. This particular floor does not have those same aspects of government and opposition. Therefore, for us to follow in traditional ways is very difficult ...

We should be looking to making sure that we have an assembly that works most effectively for the people in the most democratic manner.

In my inaugural speech, which I made the following day - and Mr Berry will find this somewhat amusing - I said:

With reference to health and community services ... let me just emphasise that we would like to see an emphasis on community health. The Minister obviously has a great challenge in front of him in terms of the hospitals.

The more things change, in some ways the more they stay the same.

I would like, first and foremost, to acknowledge that I could not have managed these 10 years, certainly not with the effect that I believe I have had, without the support from my wife, Helen, who has been with me and supported me right through this whole process, at times when it has been incredibly difficult. I know that other members also feel the same about their spouses.

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