Page 34 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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which businesses across all sectors can thrive and operate fairly; and that we work cooperatively with other governments on those matters which are transboundary in nature.

I am also very conscious of my own responsibilities to represent my constituents as I carry the message that I have heard over and over again during our lengthy election campaign from my electorate of Brindabella. It is a message that has been constant, simple and direct: please ensure that the government addresses and prioritises the urgent needs of our community, especially in health and education.

Mr Speaker, like all of us who have taken up the challenge of public office, I am committed to making a positive contribution and, hopefully, a significant difference to the lives of my constituents in Brindabella and to the people of Canberra. I look forward to interacting with all members of this Assembly as we work towards discharging our responsibilities with due care and diligence over the next four years.

My motto in life has been “respect for the past and a vision for the future”. I have already spoken about the vision for the future. In this, the 20th year of the Assembly, as we prepare to celebrate the foundation of self-government and of this Assembly, I believe it would be appropriate to pay respect and to remember some of the past contributors.

On 3 June this year Trevor Kaine, one of the pioneers of ACT self-government, died after a lengthy illness. Along with many other Canberrans, I attended his state funeral and we paid tribute to a remarkable man. Trevor was the first leader of the parliamentary Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition following the inaugural Assembly elections in March 1989. He will be best remembered as the ACT’s second and the Liberal Party’s first Chief Minister, serving from 5 December 1989 to 6 June 1991. Trevor went on to serve as opposition leader from 1991 to 1993 and as minister in a range of portfolios in the Carnell government. He served in the Assembly until 2001.

Canberrans will remember that Trevor was a member of the advisory ACT assembly that existed prior to self-government, having being elected to this body in 1974 and again in 1982. As the ACT celebrates the 20th anniversary of self-government, I would urge that this commemoration include recognition of the key role played by the late Trevor Kaine in the territory’s fledgling democracy.

I would like to thank my family, my friends and my local community for the support and encouragement they have given to me over the long seven-year journey to reach the ACT Legislative Assembly. The bitter fruits of unsuccessful previous campaigns seem very hard to remember now. Perhaps because of those experiences, the current success seems all that much more worth while.

To my wife, Maureen, and my children, Adam and Amy, and their families, Annette, Isabella, Kasia and Noah, I would like to say that I could not have embarked on this journey without all of you. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for your patience, love, support and understanding. To my family in Sydney, my mother who always believed in the eventual successful outcome, and my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, your support and encouragement were invaluable.

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