Page 3983 - Week 10 - Thursday, 28 August 2008

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John Hargreaves and Andrew Barr. I acknowledge and thank each of them for their unremitting hard work, diligence and devotion to their portfolios and to the people of Canberra. I thank them for their resilience and their strength and, indeed, for their support of and loyalty to me.

I also thank the other members of the government, most particularly you, Mr Speaker, and Karin MacDonald, Mick Gentleman and Mary Porter for your enormous contributions to the Assembly and to the community and for your participation in government and, indeed, your support for the ALP.

I similarly thank and acknowledge on this last sitting day before the next election all other members of the Assembly and, as Mr Berry has done, acknowledge the important role that every member in this place plays in the government of the territory.

I thank the personal staff, my personal staff and, indeed, all other staff of the Assembly who have made a contribution to the government. I also thank, of course, the community and members of community organisations that work with the government on behalf of the community in the interests of us all.

I will say just briefly on this occasion that I am enormously proud of our record of achievement in government and the economic stability that we have brought. The strength of the balance sheet enables us to imagine and to implement our vision to create a real future and a stronger community.

Government is not easy. We have always sought—I can say this honestly and I say it genuinely—to put the interests of the Canberra community first. In every decision I and my colleagues within the cabinet—the decision makers, the executive—have always sought to do that. We have made some tough and some unpopular decisions. We have made some decisions that have hurt some Canberrans. We have made some of those decisions knowing that they would hurt some Canberrans, and we regret that. But every decision that we have made as a government, as an executive, as a cabinet, has been genuinely made with the interests of Canberra and the Canberra community uppermost in our minds. To the extent that we have made tough decisions, decisions that even in their making we knew would be hurtful we have always sought to put Canberra and Canberrans first.

I acknowledge that, on reflection, we made some decisions that were perhaps better not made. We have made mistakes. We are human and fallible. I believe that we have learnt from our mistakes and that knowledge is added to the well of experience which we have now as a government and as individual ministers. But even as we acknowledge that there are things we may have done better, we have always sought to do our best and always sought to put the people of Canberra first.

I look forward to the coming election and to the campaign. I wish all four of my colleagues within the government all the best within the campaign and for the future. Similarly, I wish all best to the Leader of the Opposition and his team, to Mr Mulcahy and all other candidates in the coming election. I look forward very much to that campaign.

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