Page 7 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 5 November 2008

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I pay tribute today to my other caucus colleagues, in particular to those who retired at the election: long-time Speaker and former minister and former leader of the Labor Party, Mr Wayne Berry, and Ms Karin MacDonald; and to Ms Mary Porter, joined today by Ms Joy Burch to complete the government team. And I reserve a special and most fond mention for Mr Mick Gentleman. Perhaps there is no other backbencher in recent times who has achieved in a single term, through dogged belief and persuasive powers, a legacy as great as Mick Gentleman’s nation-leading feed-in tariff.

There are many others who have held their breath over recent times and wondered whether the price that Labor will pay for following principle and for ignoring expediency to follow an easier road would be greater than we all feared. There are those who work for the Labor team—the staff members who support the elected members; in particular, those who are at the absolute front line—in my own office, Penelope Layland, Sharon Scrivener and Chantelle Lustri. Each office has such individuals.

There are also the fine and intelligent officers in our departments and agencies who offer their truest counsel and who persist in giving it even when the words are hard to deliver. I thank them and look forward to working with them again.

And there are our families—the families of existing MLAs, the families of new members, and the families of unsuccessful candidates—and, of course, most of all mine: my wife, Robyn, my greatest support who absorbs far too many of the blows intended for me; my children, Matthew, Christopher, Michael, Anna and their partners. I thank each of you for the support you give unsparingly. Thank you.

Leader of the Opposition

MR SPEAKER: Under standing order 5A, the Leader of the Opposition shall be the leader of the largest non-government party, with the consent of that member. As Mr Seselja, as leader of the Liberal Party, is the leader of the largest non-government party, I now seek his consent to being the Leader of the Opposition.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition): I accept the honour, Mr Speaker, and I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, firstly, congratulations on your appointment. It is a great honour to take such a significant role in the Assembly. Secondly, I extend my formal congratulations to Mr Stanhope on his re-election as Chief Minister of the ACT. As Mr Stanhope has noted in previous speeches and indeed today, it is both a humbling honour and an extraordinary responsibility with which to be tasked. We in the Liberal Party will hold you to account for your actions on behalf of all Canberrans.

To our new members, I extend a welcome. Our team has been added to by Steve Doszpot, Alistair Coe and Jeremy Hanson. None of you are here by accident. Each of you has been elected because Canberrans see the particular skills, the abilities and the experiences which you bring to the job. It is now up to you to honour the trust

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