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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 February 2008) . . Page.. 4 ..

believe that home ownership for our young families should be an attainable dream. I believe it is not beyond our capacity to manage our water resources so that Canberrans can water their gardens, even in times of drought. I believe that we should use the billion-dollar boom to secure our transport, health and water infrastructure for the benefit of generations of Canberrans.

I believe that Canberra can be a safer community to live in. I believe that taking care of the basics, such as roads, footpaths, libraries and bus services, is not an added extra, but core business for the ACT government. A government which I lead would make these issues our priority. We will focus on getting these things right and not be distracted by the personal interests of ministers. We will not—as this government has done—balance our budget on the back of students and first home buyers.

There are a couple of tests of success or failure for governments. Have we made people’s lives better or worse? Have we lifted their burdens or imposed new ones upon them? In my maiden speech I said that the mark of a society is how we treat our most vulnerable, and I very strongly believe this. The mark of a government is how it improves the lives of all its citizens while taking care of the most vulnerable.

For many in our community, the work of government often is of nothing more than passing interest. They often wish government would simply get out of their way, and I understand and respect this. However, for others, the effectiveness of government is literally a life and death business. Vulnerable children, the homeless, the mentally ill, refugees, recently arrived immigrants, our Indigenous community, those on low incomes, prisoners, the aged and the chronically ill often have a disproportionate reliance on the actions of government. For this reason, it is even more important that we get it right; that every decision is tested for its overall community benefit, along with its effect on the most vulnerable members of society.

Over the coming months, we will be putting forward our ideas on and our solutions to the key areas that I have outlined. We have listened to the community, and we will continue to do so. Our policies and ideas will reflect their needs and aspirations, rather than what we think they should want. In opposition, as we would in government, we will rigorously assess the government’s programs.

I have no doubt that the government, rather than engaging in a genuine debate about its record and about our alternative ideas, will engage in negative attacks on my colleagues and me. With a record like that of the Stanhope government, this is to be expected. However, I have confidence that Canberrans will see through this. Our highly educated electorate will take a close look at the record of this government and at the alternative which we offer. I am confident that, having done this, they will see what I see—that the Canberra we all love can do better.

Independent member

Statement by member

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo): I seek leave to make a statement concerning my move to the crossbench.

Leave granted.

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