Page 9 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 5 November 2008

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However, it is also important that the government and opposition ensure that the crossbench is held to the high standards expected of other players. For the government, it is to ensure that the power held by the crossbench is not exercised excessively. For the opposition, it is to ensure that the responsibility is not handled ineffectively. It is an exciting opportunity for all of us to work through these challenges, to work out our roles and to work towards a better government for the ACT.

I believe that this Assembly has been tasked with finding a better way to conduct the business of government. I believe it is a task we can achieve. I believe this Assembly can find inventive solutions to intractable problems, remember that dialogue is as important as decisions, and place importance on the fact that good faith and fairness extend beyond traditional political boundaries. And we in this place have a unique opportunity to turn principle and rhetoric into programs and results.

To all my Assembly colleagues, I look forward to a productive, innovative Assembly which acts in the best interests of all Canberrans.

Statement by member

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens), by leave: Mr Speaker, I congratulate you on your appointment today. I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we are meeting on, their living heritage and ongoing contribution to our culture.

This is a very significant day for the ACT Greens, and I would like to start by thanking all the voters in Canberra who have entrusted us with this responsibility. The vote is a response to the times—the disillusionment of the Canberra voters with majority government; our strong policy agenda; and the extraordinary work of Deb Foskey over the past four years and Kerrie Tucker for years before that, who have brought trust with the Canberra community and carried forward those concerns.

I also want to acknowledge all the work and vital support of our families, our fellow party members and supporters—those great people who gave their time endlessly in campaigns over the past few years. The good showing of the Greens in this election was a surprise in some ways but a true recognition of the work that so many people have put in.

The responsibility to be the third party here in the Assembly is something we will take very seriously. We are not here just to hold government to account, which is of course the essential role of any parliament, but we are committed to making the Assembly itself more inclusive, more responsive and more transparent. People need to be able to know and understand what is happening in government and be able to feed into the laws that this place is responsible for making. We are absolutely committed to developing policies that face up to the challenges of climate change and social equity.

Governments do not lead; communities lead. Those of us who are part of the ACT Greens are very aware of the forward thinking, the expertise and the insight that exist in our community. That is the information that must feed into policy for the ACT government. We need to ensure that the people who vote for us, who live here, are on

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