Page 25 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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ideas, can achieve much for their community; and it gave me the opportunity to do just that. It taught me that if you want to know your community, you need to work with your community.

It was a good training ground for the work I undertook on arrival: to establish what is now known as Communities @ Work—formerly Tuggeranong Community Service—to develop the first accredited generic training for volunteers in Australia and to establish and build Volunteering ACT, the peak body for the volunteering profession in the ACT and south-east New South Wales. This is now a highly respected organisation and an acknowledged leader in the field, supporting at least 40 per cent of the ACT’s adult population in volunteer activity and the myriad of diverse community groups.

These examples are about the power of people to make a great deal of difference when supported and resourced. It takes very little in the way of financial resources to achieve a great deal. Who would have anticipated that five or six people, all with families, mortgages and part-time paid jobs, could band together and form the genesis of what is now a thriving community service. Similarly, in 1986, six women—by now with full-time paid jobs and teenage children—encouraged by the ACT community formed a steering committee that eventually resulted in Volunteering ACT. This is all about people joining together, taking an idea, working together and making it a reality for the benefit of all.

In the same way, my election was the result of a great team effort. I would like to acknowledge the party secretary, Mr Cossey, and his staff; my fellow candidates during the campaign; Chris Sant, my campaign manager; the small group that worked with me initially to map out my plan; and my large army of volunteers, a number of whom are with me today. I thank them for being here today. Those volunteers have worked for many months on tasks that helped me stay out there on the shopping centre stalls and knocking on doors, as they folded and letterboxed tirelessly.

Thanks to my greatest supporter, my husband, and to my family here and my sister and my three children and their families—all interstate—who constantly kept in touch by phone and email, sending their encouragement. Thank you to the man who influenced my life the most in those formative years: my father—a man who was so proud when his daughters achieved what he had dreamt of. Sadly, in the midst of my campaign, my father died in Tasmania. Many were concerned in February, during my run for preselection, when I chose to travel to be with my father and took substantial leave, as his health was failing. Fortunately he rallied, only to die in August this year. Consequently he is not with us to share the good news of the results of the election and the Labor majority.

My mother and grandmother—a dour Scottish woman—were very dear to me, though long since gone. Both these women are, in one way or another, role models for me. Like my father, they taught me to believe in compassion, fairness and one’s ability to make a difference in society. They taught me about hard work and believing in my own capacity and, above all, the importance of positive relationships.

My years as a nursing sister, trainer, community worker, parent and grandparent, have given me a passion for primary health care, supporting good community initiatives, working to improve educational opportunities for all—and to foster an environment that

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