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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 30 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

Helen Cooney, who is now working for me in a paid capacity, did so much during the campaign, from fundraising to letterboxing, and generally telling me where I was supposed to be at what time, which she is continuing to do now. Helen, yes, you were annoying at times, but always very useful.

I am very happy that my good friend, Trish McAloon-I am not sure that she has arrived, but she was planning to be here-was able to come down for today's sitting or will be arriving for today's sitting. Trish is a true friend, having taken time to come down from Sydney for several weekends during the campaign, and then for the final week. I hope that my getting elected is a good repayment for all her hard work.

To my closest friend, Jane Wannell, who is not here today: thank you for providing emotional support to me for the last 20 years. You are the sister I never had and have pulled me out of more emotional turmoil than I care to remember.

This speech would not be complete without acknowledging my wonderful fiancé, Brendan Scott. You have been my strength throughout this time. I know for sure that I would not have made it through the campaign without you. I love you very much, and I am looking forward to getting married on 6 April 2002.

In conclusion, I hope that, when my time comes to depart this place, all will look back upon my time here and feel that I have served the people of Canberra well and that I have made a contribution to many people's lives.

MS DUNDAS: I ask for leave of the Assembly to make my inaugural speech.

Leave granted.

MS DUNDAS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise today to make what was once known as a maiden speech, and I make it as the youngest woman ever elected to an Australian parliament and as the first member of the Australian Democrats to enter this ACT Assembly since self-government. I acknowledge and thank my fellow MLAs and also recognise my federal Democrat colleagues who are able to be here today.

The first elected Australian Democrat senators were taking their seats in the federal parliament in the same month that I was born. In the intervening 23 years I have grown into a community activist, a feminist and a politician, and my party of choice has also grown and changed politics.

I am very proud to be a member of a party where my vote has the same value as that of any member, where my voice can and will be heard, whether or not I can afford the time to attend meetings, and which has among its ranks a growing number of firsts. It has the first gay activist elected to federal parliament, the first female leader, a feat that we repeated, and the first indigenous Australian as part of the federal leadership team, to name but a few.

Nor have our representatives stepped back from being the first to bring issues to the nation's attention. When it was formed, the Australian Democrats were the only party committed to making Australia nuclear free, and we remain committed to human rights,

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