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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 120 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

The roller-coaster ride of the past week or so has been a frantic one, not just with the countback, but with the bereavement of my father, which has mixed the emotions somewhat. Someone, somewhere called me the comeback kid, or is it the countback kid? That was flattering in a way, but the fact is that I never went away. I was absent from this place, as I have said, for 15 months, but for all that time I have been out in the community doing what I do best-talking, listening and helping where I can.

It concerns me that there are so many people out there who feel that no-one is listening, despite all the pre-election promises that somehow under Labor that would never be the case. I shall continue to be out there, as I have been, looking, watching, listening and being able to make a difference wherever and whenever I can. I think those of you in here who know me will know that I am a tenacious person and will not be easily brushed aside. Jacqui Burke does not go away easily.

What I hear out there I will give voice to in here. May I never lose sight of the people who put me in here and of what they had in mind when they did so. It is a sad but true fact that too many elected politicians lose sight of the fundamental reason they are here, that is, to serve the community. We are not the masters. That is the role of the people. We lose sight of that at our peril.

I know that people are cynical about politicians and, even worse, cynical about institutions. I am not a cynical person. Cynicism, it is said, is a great corroder of the soul, and it has been said that cynicism is the last refuge of the idealist. Mr Deputy Speaker, I am still that idealist. I have been given the shadow portfolios of housing, community care, community services, vocational education and training, and higher education. I am delighted because in so many ways that makes me the shadow minister for people, a voice for the community.

I am happiest being among people, sharing my time with people and helping them where and when I can. Let me promise this: whatever I do will be done with all the enthusiasm I can muster and all the drive, energy and commitment that I can find. I am glad to be back to serve the people to the very best of my ability. I thank members for their time.

Mr Gary Humphries

MRS DUNNE (4.38): Mr Deputy Speaker, in my maiden speech, I paid tribute to a range of people who had brought me to this place. In that speech, I said:

The person I most admire in this place, Gary Humphries, demonstrates every day that in politics, as in all other things, substance and integrity are what matters.

Today we saw a small passing of Gary Humphries from this place with the appointment of Jacqui Burke and the appointment of Gary Humphries to fill the casual vacancy to succeed Senator Margaret Reid. To echo what Mrs Burke has just said in her speech, no-one will be able to fill the void of skill, the forensic mind, the clear thinking and the skills as a debater that 14 years of experience in this place have brought.

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