Page 4635 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009

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importantly the photocopy people, the secretaries, the receptionists and all the little people and the guys in the depots.

I actually had the pleasure of meeting most of them. I went around and saw them and they are just the most wonderful people. We have, I believe, a particularly expert and professional public service and what needs to happen is for it to be staffed by people who love this city more than they love themselves. I think Mr Smyth will join with me in acknowledging that. He had responsibility for many of them as a minister. It is indeed a privilege for us to be part of the team that provides a service to the ACT.

I also express my appreciation to all of the officers on my staff over all of my time as a minister; I have had many of them and some of them I mentioned earlier on today. But I would be remiss if I did not put them all on record. I will not name them all—I have already done it—but they are just the most wonderful people. They are, naturally enough, grieving at the moment, and if I can alleviate that grief in any way, shape or form by acknowledging them publicly I will be happy. If I have achieved one success in all of the five years that I have been with them, it has been because they actually did it, not me; I was just part of the team.

I also want to express my disappointment a little, I suppose, and give the guys opposite a victory. I will not be here in the November sittings—Mr Corbell will seek leave from the Assembly on my behalf at some point in time—as I will be going into hospital to have an operation. That has nothing to do with my reasons for resigning as minister; I just want to put that on record.

I was disappointed to see the motion to disallow the fireworks legislation pop up this afternoon. I pay the chess ability, but I think it was a somewhat cowardly act. I did not think it was a particularly honourable thing to do, particularly when those opposite knew, because I had said so today, that I would not be in the chamber to enjoy the debate at the time. I think it is inconsistent with what members have been saying about their positions in the past. I had hoped that we could have had a little bit of fun today in question time; that everybody could have taken it in the humour in which it was offered and let this thing go through.

After all, this is not something that I do for my own personal gratification. It is not something that will injure me if it goes down. If we do not take a responsible position on this as a community, I believe that we will all be lesser people at the end of the day. We are charged not only with looking after our constituents and the people who vote for us and their families and children; we are also charged with the responsibility of looking after those parts of our community that cannot look after themselves, and that includes the wildlife that frequent the inner parts of the city and the domestic animals which we allow to share our homes with us. I would ask those opposite to consider seriously whether they want to pursue the debate or not and I would ask them to withdraw that motion. I only wish I could enjoy battling the debate.

To my colleagues, to the Assembly staff members, to the attendants, to everybody who has been with me on my journey as a minister, I say thank you very much. It has been a great ride. It has been a rollercoaster ride. I have enjoyed every minute of it. Let me just say that I may be vacating this chair, but I have occupied that one before and people who were here at the time will remember that. There is more to come.

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