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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3324 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

When we went out to a number of school functions, especially where ex-students were involved, it never failed to amaze me how many people would come up to Narelle because they had been her students. In some instances, they had been junior teachers who had taught with her when she was principal of a school.

The regard in which Narelle Hargreaves is held is truly remarkable. I was very saddened-but not surprised; we all get to the age where we have to retire-to hear that the era of Narelle Hargreaves in our school system was coming to an end. She has been a wonderful example for public education in the ACT, a magnificent teacher, a magnificent administrator and a decent friend to education generally. She will be sorely missed.

I wish her and her family all the best in their retirement, and I also look forward to catching up with her now that she has retired. She leaves incredibly big boots to fill, and I do not think anyone could do quite the same job as Narelle Hargreaves.

I have another, not quite so pleasant, point, Mr Speaker. In response to a supplementary question I put yesterday on a bill of rights, the Chief Minister talked about Liberals, conservatives and rednecks against the bill and then rattled off a group of people, including criminals, who would benefit from the bill and whose rights need to be respected. Everyone has rights in this country. Everyone has rights and responsibilities. It is churlish to lump together people who oppose his legislation as Liberals, conservatives and rednecks. There are a lot of people who are none of those three.

I dread to think, too, that he wants criminals to get more rights. I recently heard some very sad stories emanating from victims in our courts. I have written to the Chief Minister about some of the victims, who are very concerned that the courts are so criminal centric, who feel that victims have no rights and who wonder what on earth they are doing there. I cannot conceive of what other rights criminals need; if anything, it is the victims and society whose rights need to be further enhanced. The Chief Minister went off on a real tangent in answer to this supplementary, and I do not think that advanced the argument he is trying to push one jot.

Ms Narelle Hargreaves

MR PRATT (6.59): I want to add my best wishes to the excellent speech given by the minister on the parting member of the department of education. I have nothing much to add because everything which has been said has covered all aspects. I was impressed to hear the minister say that Narelle had only taken four days off. That is incredible. I wish her and her family all the best.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.53 pm.

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