Page 35 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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To my old friends and new friends in Canberra and in Sydney, who grew in great numbers with each campaign, I have to say the same. Your support, energy, encouragement and your trust in me are things I will never forget. Nor can I adequately thank you. Hopefully, with your continued support, I can repay some of the energy and faith that has gone into these seven years by making a difference to our Canberra community.

I cannot name all of you, but I would be remiss not to name three individuals. Firstly the late Heinz Assel, one of the bravest and most generous of men I have known. Heinz passed away last year after a lengthy fight against a terminal illness. It was Heinz who encouraged me, despite his personal pain, and campaigned strongly through 2001 and 2004 before his illness took him from us. His example, friendship and courage made my darkest hours quite insignificant. The success of 2008 is dedicated to him and to my parents.

Two other friends, Albert Orszaczky and Poul Bergild, have also been with me for the whole of the seven-year campaign; so my sincere thanks go to three very proud Aussie friends of German, Hungarian and Danish backgrounds for their incredible long-term commitment and support to this son of refugees.

Like many other newcomers to this proud land, my parents found peace, freedom, and opportunities while their direct contribution in return was their energy, work ethic, values and traditions. As a child, my parents always impressed on me their gratitude for the opportunities that their new homeland and our democratic system provided to them and their five children.

As the eldest of those five children, I now stand here fully aware of the privilege that my election to our ACT Legislative Assembly represents as well as the responsibility that is on my shoulders to try and repay to Canberra and Australia the generosity shown to the family of refugees 50 years ago.

I am proud to be finally one of the team of Liberals who will work with Zed Seselja over the next four years to represent our constituents and the Canberra community, and I hope that I have also answered the question that many people have been asking me about why I was so persistent and determined to seek election to our ACT Legislative Assembly. Thank you.

MR HANSON (Molonglo), by leave: First and foremost, I express my gratitude to the people of Molonglo for allowing me the privilege of representing them for the next four years. I congratulate my fellow members on their election to the Assembly, in particular, the seven who join me here for the first time. With minority government we have an opportunity to work together in the Assembly to achieve great outcomes for the people of Canberra and I look forward to working with each of you towards that end.

I come to the Assembly from the Army, which I left in August this year after a career spanning almost 23 years. It will not be a surprise, therefore, if I say that the Army has had a profound effect on who I am. Although my military service has on occasion

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