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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 3 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

I believe it is incumbent upon us all in this Assembly to ensure that Canberra continues to grow and become the capital city of the future for all Australians to enjoy, take a renewed national pride in and be proud of. As part of the Liberal team, I am very actively committed to pursuing this goal.

For me, this responsible, exciting and challenging job is the culmination of the past five years of my life. It is so awesome to be in the right place at the right time, doing what you know you are supposed to be doing at that time of your life. It will be a particularly memorable time for me, given that this, of course, is Australia's centenary of federation year.

I am not under any illusion. The next few months ahead will be a very busy and demanding time but one I will attack with cheerful confidence and a determination to enjoy the challenge before me.

I am a Liberal because I value the broad-based political philosophy from which Liberalism derives its enduring values-values such as individual freedom, choice, diversity, opportunity and the importance of strong families and communities. I find it interesting, as a matter of personal observation, that we are all essentially, in the broad sense, liberal-minded people, which unites us and so ensures that there is agreement on more things than not in this place. I ask you to consider, as I have, the Prime Minister's remarks made during the 1996 Menzies Lecture:

Where there are genuine differences of view, they need to be debated directly and robustly, but not in a personally abusive way.

Nor does our political system benefit from instinctive political 'oppositionism'. Where there is broad agreement I believe that nothing is lost by recognising that fact.

I believe that we are in this place for a time such as this. We are all unique individuals with unique gifts and abilities to be used for the good of this vibrant, thriving, dynamic city. It is a beautiful city; it is the place we call home-Canberra.

We must continue to look to our future, trying not to dwell too heavily on halcyon bygone days. However unpalatable they may be to us, progress and change are inevitable, but it is through these sometimes uncomfortable processes that we can grow and develop character as individuals and corporately.

The future of any community is its youth. To that end I look forward to continuing with my work on forging stronger links between the community at large and our young people. Young people today, more than ever before, need to have an established, strong sense of hope within, so that they can look to the future with optimism and so realise their full potential in life.

Another aspect of being able to fulfil that potential is that linked to general heath and wellbeing. Without good health, we naturally face many unwanted day-to-day challenges. It is therefore with enthusiasm that I look forward to having the opportunity of serving on the relevant standing committees of this Assembly.

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