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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3687 ..

Tuesday, 19 November 2002

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Statement by member

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MRS CROSS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Some people have suggested to me that I now should simply put the past behind me, and I certainly intend to do that; but not before I address an important principle at stake which reflects on all of us in this chamber. Because when someone in Mr Humphries' position does what he did to me, the entire Assembly is diminished.

Almost exactly a year ago I made my first speech in this Assembly and I promised that I would strive to fulfil the expectations of those who voted for me. A year later, I still intend to fulfil that promise, but I will now do so from the crossbenches.

The reasons why I am sitting on this side of the chamber rather than the Liberal benches have been aired variously in the media. Whoever said that the truth is the first casualty in a political campaign could have been writing the preamble to my departure from the Liberal Party. It grieves me that the situation that led to my forced exit from the Liberal Party reflects a great malaise within a once proud political party.

It grieves me even further to have to tell the many good and honest supporters of the Liberal Party here in Canberra that they are being betrayed by the present incumbents on the opposition benches. How humiliated and let down your voters must feel, Mr Humphries. Instead of doing the privileged job you were elected to do, you have instead chosen to pursue me.

This Assembly does not have the time to go through the polluted litany of untruths that Mr Humphries tabled against me. In fact, Mr Speaker, I can assure Mr Humphries and the opposition that, even though they would delight in my preoccupation with their misrepresentations, I have more important work to do relating to the welfare and concerns of the people of the ACT.

A quick review of the material widely circulated by Mr Humphries inside and outside of this chamber could have an uncritical reader or listener believe that I am a physical wreck. Well, I can assure you, Mr Speaker, fellow members of this chamber and my fellow Canberrans that I am now well and truly back to health. I am fighting fit and raring to fulfil my new role as an Independent MLA.

During the period of the sustained assault on me, when I was truly ill, Mr Humphries thought it his political right and opportunity to publicly humiliate me. What he said was untrue, and he said it for his own selfish political gains. You see, Mr Speaker,

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