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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 December 2008) . . Page.. 272 ..

I received many well wishes from members of the Gold Coast branch of the Greens during and after the election result and I thank them greatly for their support. Queensland is where I grew up and spent my formative years. I studied environmental science at university, but also became very interested in the social impacts of policy, including impacts on Indigenous people. It is this interest and background which has lead to my work in the health sector.

I have to say Queensland will always be a part of me, mainly in my unswerving support for my beloved Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Maroons, but I can assure the people of Canberra that I will be cheering on the Canberra Raiders on most occasions, except, of course, when they meet up with my Broncos!

My story is similar to so many others. I came here from interstate, but found a beautiful city, an inviting city. I immediately knew this is where I wanted to live and now Canberra is very much my home. I have now been given the chance to offer Canberrans something in return—an opportunity to help in the governance and development of this territory.

I am extremely honoured to be representing the people of Brindabella and the ACT in this Legislative Assembly. I stood for the Greens in the ACT election in 2004 and learnt much from Deb Foskey and the late Charlie Pahlman and have greatly benefited from their experience and knowledge.

I would like to acknowledge the amazing work of Deb Foskey during the last Legislative Assembly. Deb’s work, and the work of her office staff, was instrumental in establishing the Greens’ strong position on many social and environmental issues, and the four new Greens members in the Legislative Assembly will do all we can to maintain and build on this work.

Each of the ACT Greens MLAs is acutely aware of the trust the people of the ACT have given to us through the 2008 election result. We are fully aware of the responsibilities and expectations that come with this and we will be working over the next four years to achieve some real and lasting achievements for the ACT community.

Some of the most important issues for me concern how we treat the most vulnerable people in our community. In times of economic prosperity, and even more so when we are in such a state of financial and social uncertainly, there will always be people who need assistance, compassion and understanding. As a society we will be judged by how we treat people who are vulnerable, and we should remember that in any particular circumstance or situation we could be there ourselves. People should not be punished forever for something which has occurred in their life, and people should be given a second chance—to make something of their life and become participating and contributing members of society.

I am extremely lucky to have never had to worry about having a roof over my head or knowing where my next meal would come from. I have always had the support of family and friends when things haven’t been easy. Many people that we represent here are not as fortunate. That is why building and maintaining a proper support base, including health, housing, employment and other services, is critical to my agenda.

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