Page 3973 - Week 10 - Thursday, 28 August 2008

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their Assembly and their members. I remember having getting-to-know-you drinks with the judiciary in my first term and Terry Connolly saying at that time that a lot of the work in the Assembly, especially by the committees, went unnoticed.

I understand that discord gets headlines but the reality of this place is that there is a lot of work done here that is done collaboratively. Of course we all bring our own personal viewpoints to committee meetings and debates in the Assembly but we have the ability in this place to make real and immediate change for the betterment of people’s lives. And we do.

I also believe that members of the Assembly have a very important role to play as community leaders. It does not just mean representing your constituency and getting along to community events and fundraisers. The way we deport ourselves and the example that we set to others with our behaviour both in the Assembly and outside the building have the potential to impact on the rest of the community’s behaviour. I have talked about this in other speeches in this place. In fact, in my inaugural speech I talked about Australian society having become insular and less caring about fellow citizens. I said:

For all the denials of the practitioners of wedge politics, the parallels with what has been taking place in this country and Nazi Germany are there to be seen by those who will look. They are subtle, but becoming less so. People in this country have been put under so much pressure by the erosion of core services and values that consequently they have sought to scapegoat those who are different. In 1933, the German people allowed Hitler to become their dictator. They gave up democracy and believed that the reason for their troubles was the Jews, the unionists, the intellectually disabled, and the Slavs. In other words, those who were different.

I like to think that the election of the Rudd Labor government last November will assist in changing that. But eternal vigilance is necessary to ensure that we never give up those democratic freedoms that have been hard fought for.

I cherish that we have parliamentary democracy in this country and in the ACT. And this has only increased with my involvement with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I spoke last night in the adjournment debate about the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association but I did not get time to finish my final thoughts on that issue. As I said then, the CPA is a wonderful organisation that is all about promoting and encouraging parliamentary democracy. I do fear for the future of the CPA by those who would treat it as merely a club for their own personal enjoyment, to the exclusion of others. But that will be a problem for members of the Seventh Assembly and others in other parliaments.

I would say that the best thing about being a member of this place has been all the wonderful and amazing people that I have had the opportunity to meet and the organisations that I have come into contact with both here in the ACT and outside Canberra through my work with the CPA. I have made friendships through being a member of the Assembly, friendships that I will value to the end of my life.

I have enjoyed working in the Assembly. I have learned a lot, not the least of which is the importance of standing order 39 during question time. When I look back to 2001,

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