Page 3970 - Week 10 - Thursday, 28 August 2008

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A lone crossbencher really needs her team. Obviously there was a salary allocation for me to have a team, but, as I said, I have been absolutely blessed. But we also need our constituents, and I have made some very close relationships with constituents, too.

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

DR FOSKEY: We all share some of the same constituents—people who ring us up—and I think the Greens are very good at being rung up, because we are important to a lot of people out there, and that is an important role of an MLA. It is often said by some here in criticism of the Greens that, any time we do anything or achieve anything, all we are doing is seeking relevance, but try this: what if we call it trying to make a difference? Just last week Mr Stanhope tried to downgrade something I had done—I cannot even remember what it was—by saying that I was just seeking relevance. When there is only one of you, you make a difference however you can. When I look at what my team and I have achieved, often with the help of constituents out there or people who have needed a voice inside the Assembly, it is encouraging to find that you can actually make a difference with a majority government even when there is only one of you. Yesterday was the crowning glory of that, because it was a specific thing. The legislation to protect public participation is a real plus; it is landmark legislation, and I am very proud that we got it through this Assembly. It was a long job, and it involved our fabulous committee system and it involved talking with people and working with the government and reaching that outcome.

I would also like to point to the long-stay caravan park, because I really think that if the Greens had not raised a voice in this place, we would not have had the outcome that we did have. The government came on board quite quickly, and I know the negotiations were very difficult for the government. I take my hat off to Mr Stanhope, because he stuck with it, and he realised how important it was that those people had security of tenure to stop their evictions. It has been an expensive exercise, but it has been thoroughly justified in terms of goodwill.

I have been badgering about climate change; I see it as the biggest issue that we face. There are, of course, other issues that are also important, but it seems to me that the solutions to climate change would actually solve a lot of those other problems as well. This is, of course, an area that I want to keep working in. If we want to have resilient communities, communities that can adapt to and mitigate climate change, we will have communities that are good to live in as well. I can see that when I go to the sea change group at Jamison or speak with the people down at Farrer and all the other groups of people who are really trying to make a difference on the ground.

I also have to mention in appreciation all the local residents groups: the Gungahlin Community Council, the Woden Valley Community Council and the Weston Creek Community Council. Those people slave away and keep those community organisations going. They get no financial reward; there is a little bit of money from the government for the huge role that they have to do, but they do it. Without exception, they are doing it for their community. They are not people who are doing it

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