Page 2029 - Week 06 - Monday, 16 May 2011

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Ms Gallagher, do you wish to make a statement?

Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, can I also acknowledge that Mr Mick Gentleman is in the gallery.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Mr Gentleman, welcome also. Ms Gallagher?

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister), by leave: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank members for their confidence in me and support they have shown for me today. The people of Canberra, through their Assembly, have given me the greatest honour of becoming the seventh Chief Minister for the ACT. It is a privilege and a significant responsibility and one which I will carry out to the best of my ability every single day.

I come to this position after serving the people of the ACT in this place since 2001, firstly as a member of the backbench and shortly after as a minister. I have learnt much during this time and I think I come well prepared to take this next momentous step. That is not to say that I have all the answers or that I have nothing more to learn. I know that to be a good Chief Minister I will have to continue to listen to and learn from the community that I represent.

I must use this opportunity to thank the retiring Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope—the longest serving and most successful Chief Minister that the ACT has had, a man of great integrity, honesty and compassion, a true leader in every sense of the word. Jon has mentored me, supported me and encouraged me during my time in this Assembly. I thank Jon for all he has done for Canberra, for the Assembly, for the Labor Party and for all of us who will remain here to continue the unfinished work before us.

Today is a big day for me and a long way from the childhood dreams of a little girl from Waramanga. From an early age I was taught that in order to truly belong to a community you must contribute to that community. Canberra is my home. It is part of who I am. I have spent my whole life here—as a child, a student, a worker, a partner, a mum, and now as Chief Minister. I truly love this city and I will not waste the opportunity that has been given to me today.

As a leader I will be tough but I will be fair. I will be hardworking, I will be honest, I will be compassionate. I will always act with integrity and in the best interests of the community I serve.

The government I lead will focus on the things that matter for Canberra families—health, education, community and municipal services—against a backdrop of responsible economic management which will allow us to provide support for those members of our community who are doing it tough. I will lead a streamlined, efficient and talented public service with a renewed focus on meeting the needs of the local community. We will tackle the challenges that come our way no matter how difficult or how contentious they may be.

Our community expects a government that will listen to them but also a government that takes the lead in the big policy debates and ultimately provides direction on the

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