Page 2176 - Week 06 - Monday, 11 May 2009

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Hon Ann Barker MP

Deputy Speaker—Legislative Assembly


Hon Lisle Snell MLA

Speaker—Legislative Assembly

Norfolk Island

I wish to give a special acknowledgement to the Speaker of our twinned parliament, the Hon Taomati Iuta MP, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Parliament of Kiribati. As well, I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of a number of clerks from other Australian parliaments, as well as the Kiribati parliament. On behalf of all members, I extend a warm welcome to the presiding officers and clerks, and thank them for joining us for our celebrations.

20th Anniversary of self-government

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (10.30): Mr Speaker, I have great pleasure in speaking to and supporting this motion on behalf of my Greens colleagues, as it recognises the history, the nature and the importance of this Assembly.

I wish first to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners and continuing custodians of the lands of the ACT and pay my respects to the elders, families and ancestors.

The Greens have been a part of the ACT Assembly since 1995, and I would like to acknowledge Lucy Horodny, Kerrie Tucker and Dr Deb Foskey. I am pleased that we can continue the work of our Greens predecessors in contributing to the development of an Assembly that takes democratic and participatory approaches to its operations.

I do believe that the way a parliament is run will inform how well it does its job, and as a Canberra resident I am proud of the way this Assembly, over the last 20 years, has developed its own responsible, accessible and considered approach.

With a new alignment of the parties in the Assembly, and some big challenges globally and locally before us, we have an important opportunity to continue the process of connecting the Assembly to its constituents and ensuring a strong, democratic and responsible government for the people of the ACT.

Twenty years ago, many in the ACT may not have chosen self-government for themselves; however, in my mind, self-government for the ACT was, and still is, an important opportunity to have the unique needs of Canberrans adequately represented.

Initial resistance to self-government led to undeniable volatility in the Assembly and a very mixed response, including derision at times, from the public. The Greens would like to recognise and thank those MLAs, their staff, government officers and, probably most importantly, the staff of the Assembly itself, for taking on the responsibility of that pioneering work to establish the Assembly during those demanding times. We have all benefited from their response to these challenges, then and in the years that have followed.

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