Page 36 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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taken me away from loved ones and put me in situations of danger and discomfort, I have benefited enormously from the experience and feel privileged to have served with so many great Australians.

I will bring some of the benefits of my military experience to the Assembly and I intend to approach my job with the same work ethic, planning ability, leadership, management and organisational skills that are characteristic of an Army officer. I intend also to carry with me the sense of duty, moral courage, teamwork and integrity that have been instilled in me throughout my service.

Across Canberra there are many serving ADF personnel, ably supported by their public service colleagues, and I salute them for the contribution that they make in ensuring our safety and in providing security and stability across our region and across the globe.

My life until quite recently has been somewhat nomadic. I grew up overseas and, since moving to Australia in 1983, have not stayed long in any one place. I have served throughout the world and been posted to many locations in Australia. I chose to settle in Canberra because, of all the wonderful places in our nation, it is without doubt the best city in which to raise a family.

There is no doubt that Canberra is underrated, but I am sure that those of us who live here and appreciate what it offers would agree that it is something special. Canberra finds the path between country town and city that provides the best of both worlds. It is a spectacular national capital, hosting such icons as Parliament House, the War Memorial and Lake Burley Griffin, and increasingly it is a city with confidence that has a vibrant cultural life. Our suburbs also have a sense of community not present in most cities, and we are not as proud of them as we should be.

A city is its people, though, and I have been lucky enough to meet thousands of Canberrans over the last several months during the election campaign. I liked what I saw and, with only rare exceptions, I found my fellow Canberrans to be industrious, good humoured, polite and compassionate. We are a remarkably friendly and civil society.

Not all of us are doing it easy, however, and I make special mention of those I found who are doing it tough; in particular, the elderly and the disabled and those who care for them. They need as much support as we can offer and I will be making it my goal over this term in the Assembly to do all I can to improve their quality of life.

I will also make it my goal to help improve the quality of life of Indigenous people in the ACT. As shadow minister for Indigenous affairs, I look forward to learning more about the history and culture of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people and to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in the ACT are well represented here in the Assembly.

Government does not act alone in helping the disadvantaged, and I pay tribute to the many volunteers in Canberra who contribute so much to our city. The clubs, associations and individuals who give of themselves in the interests of others deserve

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