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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3754 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

One of the things that I have been very grateful for in this Fourth Assembly is the former Chief Minister and the current Chief Minister inviting me to be in the cabinet. For the whole time I have been in the cabinet I cannot remember a single occasion on which we have slipped into the nasty personal business. There have been vigorous differences of opinion, but at no stage have I experienced a personal attack.

Despite differences of opinion between them and me and between them as well, the focus has been on ideas. How much better it would be if the Assembly operated in that way. There have been many instances when it has. I would not want to create the impression that it never happens.

The most important thing for us is to focus on the primary reason for being in the Assembly, not the secondary one. It is a difficult thing to do, but it is a challenge I issue to the 17 members who will be in next Assembly. Some of them will be new; some of them will be coming back. Each and every one of us in this place can help one another by recognising the achievements of other members and not trying to find inappropriate personal motives. Recognise people when they do something positive, even if you disagree with their opinion.

In conclusion, I thank members for giving me the opportunity to say these few words and make some quite idealistic, philosophical points. I also thank each and every member for their contribution over the last 121/2 years, since 11 May 1989. I shall reiterate that perhaps in the adjournment debate. As I look into the future, I wish the very best for member who are elected to the Fifth Assembly and each Assembly after that.

MRS BURKE (12.22): I thank Mr Moore very much for those words. They very much reflect my heartfelt sentiments for this place and my reasons for being here. There is something strange about the nature of politics in Western nations. It is as though some involved believe it is a plaything, something to be used for personal gain rather than community advancement.

When I entered the ACT Legislative Assembly as a newcomer to politics, I had high expectations. I had hoped for a forum in which the essence of issues would be discussed through rigorous debate. I had hoped that we would seek to set an example to not only our community but also those communities in nations where democracy is a newly discovered yet dearly held concept.

I had hoped to be challenged by an opposition with alternative and positive ideas, with an alternative plan for government. I had hoped that during debates in the Assembly we would reach for discussions about issues high on the agenda of people in our community, and that each member would come to the debates with a sense of what position to take and with a clear understanding of why they held that view.

Instead of what I had expected, I encountered something quite different. I discovered a government which had a strong and well-developed set of objectives they were seeking to achieve and an opposition that appeared to be more interested in rhetoric than reality, with the belief that living in the past would be their ticket to the future. I found that quite strange. I had not counted on an environment in which representatives of the diversity of the ACT population were so obviously not present.

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