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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 5 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it would be remiss of me to neglect to mention those of our colleagues from the last Assembly who either chose not to stand again or were unsuccessful. We too often neglect to acknowledge the fact that in politics we put ourselves on the line at the end of our term, and success is not assured. My commiserations to those who missed out. I wish each of them success and a happy future.

Mr Speaker, I wish to place on record my thanks to my colleagues and friends and all members of my staff and other staff in the Labor Party who worked so hard to achieve our victory. Mr Humphries has been gracious enough to concede that Labor fought an effective campaign. An effective campaign does not just happen. It takes commitment, inspiration, hard work, and dedication to the task. I could not have asked for more from the team who developed Labor's election strategy and saw it through.

Mr Speaker, that election strategy had a fundamental basis that could not be argued. Labor's campaign platform was based on a recognition of the issues that concern Canberrans and a commitment to address those concerns. Clearly Canberrans endorsed that platform. Labor understands that and is committed to delivering on the program that we put before the people of Canberra.

Our platform was based on addressing the issues that Canberrans see as the priority issues for government-health, education and planning. Labor always knew that those were the key issues on which the election would be fought. Not only are they issues that are central to the everyday lives of Canberrans, they are central to their thoughts about the future, their hopes for the sort of place they want Canberra to be, and their dreams for their children and their families.

Labor gave a great deal of attention to developing policies in these key areas. Our position on each-and our commitment to each-is clear and progressive and reflects the views of Canberrans. I believe our commitment on each of the issues is well known. For instance, a working, effective and equitable health service is a top priority for people who live in Canberra, and a top priority for a Labor government. We want to put an end to the squabbling between different sectors of the health system that has so characterised its performance in recent years.

We want to address the ongoing problems at Canberra Hospital, including the long-running dispute with nurses. We will inject an additional $6 million a year into the hospital. We will also address emerging problems in the provision of disability and mental health services, and in respite care. We want to see better services provided for our ageing population. Our health policy addresses those areas, and we have a program to put in place to implement the policy.

Likewise, in education we have a plan to restore our system to the pre-eminence it once held in Australia. Our program is built around a simple, straightforward commitment to invest an additional $27 million in education programs that will ensure our children will get the education they deserve. Our policy is based firmly on an understanding of what Canberrans look for in our education system. They want the best. They want an education system that provides our children with the opportunity to do well in life. They want an education system that will allow our children-and not just some of our children-to reach their potential. Canberrans want an education system that ensures every child can fulfil his or her potential.

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