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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 9 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

unusual circumstances, it is the electorate which should change governments, not the Assembly.

Mr Speaker, we will also work in this Assembly to improve the work of committees. It is our belief that the quality of output of our committees has surrendered to quantity, and we do not believe we should dissipate this valuable resource in this way. We will work to make sure the committees operate effectively in the Fifth Assembly.

Despite the government having a mandate to govern the ACT for the next three years, a Liberal agenda will still be run in this house and in the community. In particular, we will still demand that there be a strong focus on prudent management of the territory's financial position. None of the dreams and aspirations which have been articulated by parties in this place are possible without a sustainable budget. And I restate, as I have said many times before: I believe that there is no need ever again for the ACT budget to run into the red.

Every election sees new faces arrive and others depart. This election has been something of a sea change for ACT self-government. For the first time since the early months of self-government, there are no independent members of the ACT Assembly. We simply do not know at this stage whether this will be a permanent state of affairs or only a temporary arrangement.

I wish to pay tribute to two departed Liberal members of this place. Mr Harold Hird was a link with the early days of self-government-in fact, a link to the days before self-government. He had a large amount of experience in this and its predecessor body, and I, for one, will miss his stentorian contributions to debate in this place.

Mrs Burke was earlier this year the newest member of the Assembly. She has also gone but her enthusiasm reminded us all how important it is to be vigorous in whatever role we play here. I do not believe we have heard the last of her.

Of course, Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne have also gone from this place. During their period in this place they proved the adage in politics that it is better to be talked about than not be talked about. Mr Speaker, they were, I think it is worth saying, prolific legislators, prolific presenters of legislation, in this place. They did achieve a great deal and, I have to say, I valued their company while they were here.

However, nobody achieved more in this place as an independent than did Michael Moore, the man who retires today as minister for health for the ACT. His was a powerful presence in this place. He guided and shaped the outcome of many debates in this place, and I think we will all notice his future absence from the Assembly. He also blazed a new trail in terms of the involvement of those on the crossbench with the workings of government, and I also believe that that path will not remain unused in the future.

Mr Kaine has also left the Assembly after 12 years in self-government and previous service in the former advisory assembly. I had a mixed relationship with him and therefore I will be hesitant about saying anything at great length about his contribution. But, of course, as a former Chief Minister of the ACT and a person with links to the early days of this territory's government, I wish him a contented retirement.

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