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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 December 2008) . . Page.. 157 ..

with access to the vital education and training that they need; a justice system that supports safety and fairness in our community; the necessary level of provision of public housing so that many do not remain homeless but have sustainable and appropriate shelter; and child protection services that intervene to support families in stress and make sure our young are protected.

The work over the years of the Greens in this Assembly has been very important. Kerrie Tucker has shown me how when the demands of politics throw you into uncharted or contradictory waters you can go back to first principles for guidance, you can take your time to think things through, and that admitting when you do not know the answer can be the best form of leadership. Deb Foskey has shown me that by being brave, putting yourself out there and taking your work seriously you can make a real difference to the lives of many people. I am grateful to follow in their footsteps.

The ACT Greens party has provided me with tremendous assistance and encouragement over the years and I thank those directly connected with this and other campaigns as well as the thousands of volunteers who have given their time and energy.

It is important here to mention an absent friend. Charlie Pahlman and I ran as candidates in the 2004 ACT election. Charlie worked in international development, particularly on the Mekong in South-East Asia, with Community Aid Abroad here in Canberra on community development, and with the ACT Council of Social Service. He was, in my view, an optimist with very strong grounds for that optimism based on the work that he did with so many different people. His point in the 2004 campaign was that we needed to make changes in terms of environment, development and social equity. He would ask: if not now, when, and if not here, where? This message applies more so than ever.

It is a great time to be a Green. With at least 19 state parliamentarians and more than 100 local government representatives, more and more Australians are voting for the Greens. Last year the Greens achieved a uniform vote of 11.6 per cent in Western Australia and almost won the seat of Fremantle from a minister in the state government. In South Australia we came close to winning the safe Liberal seat of Mayo, picking up more than a 10 per cent swing. In the Northern Territory elections we achieved our best result ever.

At the 2007 federal election more than one in five Canberrans voted for Kerrie Tucker in the Senate, making the ACT the greenest place in Australia. In the same election across Australia more than a million people voted for the Greens, and we now have five senators sharing the balance of power in the new Senate. So the Greens truly are the third force in Australian politics, and here in the ACT Assembly we are forging new ground by being the third party; a party that has negotiated a parliamentary reform agenda that will improve the processes of government and therefore will benefit those we are here to represent; a party with a strong policy agenda that will focus on building a sustainable 21st century city that cares for the amazing environment we live in and all who live in this environment.

Finally, I again want to acknowledge the faith placed in me by the people of Ginninderra. I look forward to working hard and doing my best to engage

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