Page 5387 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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During this time, much happened in Canberra. Construction commenced at ADFA, the AIS was opened, significant work at Parliament House was undertaken, the National Gallery was opened and many other significant projects occurred. We Canberrans have much to be grateful to Mr Hodgman for. Today he also said:

I do strongly believe that the essence of being a good member of the Parliament is more often than not found in the constituency work that a backbencher does. When someone comes to see their local member, or writes to them, or rings them, or e-mails them, they have often exhausted all their options. They are often at their wits’ end.

And there is no more noble task of any member of parliament, Liberal, Labor, Green or anything else but to give these people a voice … Sometimes it is helping with a housing problem or fighting bureaucracy. Sometimes it is organising a petition for them, or asking a question in parliament, or having a word in the ear of a minister in the chamber asking for some consideration for this particular person’s plight.

Sometimes it is writing a representation for them. Sometimes it is holding up a banner and marching with them. Sometimes it is making a speech on the adjournment for them or visiting them at home, in their work or in school or in a nursing home. That is the really great thing about being a member of parliament …

As a member of just over one year, I think there is much I can take out of those words. I had the privilege of meeting Mr Hodgman a few years ago, and I know a number of other younger Liberal Party members met him recently at a conference in Hobart. He certainly has a positive impact on those whom he comes into contact with. In fact, some were so inspired by meeting him that they established an online group called The Hon Michael Hodgman QC MP Appreciation Society, a group whose membership rocketed in numbers. He is a legend of Australian politics.

Mr Hodgman is a passionate Tasmanian, Australian and constitutional monarchist. I will close by quoting a couple of phrases for which he is famous: firstly “Ever onwards, ever upwards” and, secondly, “God save the Queen”.

Department of Housing and Community Services

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (6.27): I rise today to acknowledge and say thank you to the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services at the end of my first week in the chamber here as minister. I just want to recognise their efforts and say thank you to Martin Hehir, Brett Phillips, Meredith Whitten, Lois Ford, David Collett, Maureen Sheehan and Megan Mitchell for their work and support in transitioning me into the ministry.

I have just been flicking through the annual report and it states:

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