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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2338 ..

Bishop Richard Randerson

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (5.28): Mr Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the Assembly to the fact that Bishop Richard Randerson is returning home to Auckland in December after serving as Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn since November 1994. During his five years here Bishop Randerson has developed a close bond with Canberra's Anglican community and the public at large. He has worked tirelessly for the people of Canberra and the advancement of his faith. In this regard, I think he has played an important role in helping those in our society who are less well off and do require special assistance.

Bishop Randerson's long association with the Anglican Church has actually taken him to the four corners of the globe. He is a graduate in arts and theology from the University of Otago in Dunedin. He was ordained as a deacon in New Zealand in 1964 and made priest in 1965. Between 1968 and 1971 he spent time in America and the United Kingdom, where he studied the theological basis for the church's mission in society. He then undertook in New York postgraduate studies in theology while working with some of the city's poorest people in a number of urban mission projects. He then spent time in the Teesside in the north-east of England, where he ran parish seminars linking the Christian faith with strategic community projects. From 1971 to 1994 Bishop Randerson held a number of positions in the Anglican Church in New Zealand, including director of the inter-church trade and industry mission in Auckland, vicar of St Peter's parish in Wellington and social responsibility minister.

It was, perhaps, divine intervention that brought Bishop Randerson to us in 1994 when he was persuaded to leave New Zealand and cross the Tasman for Canberra. It was here that the Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Bishop George Browning, was quoted as saying that Bishop Randerson's greatest skill is the ability to link the church to the wider community. Not one of us here could agree more.

Bishop Randerson has provided valuable support to the community groups which offer to help people in desperate need, such as the unemployed, people with drug and alcohol problems, sufferers of HIV and AIDS and people dependent on welfare. I believe, and I think most here would agree with me, that one of his most significant contributions to our community has been his chairing of the ACT poverty task force, where he used his experience in working with government to develop policies to assist people escape the poverty cycle.

Bishop Randerson created a close bond with a number of Canberra schools, always taking time to talk to students about social and ethical issues and answer their questions about the church's role in Australia today. At the same time, he never shied away from espousing his opinions on contentious political issues, including those debated in this Assembly. He supported the GST. Indeed, he supported the establishment of the ACT's heroin trial.

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