Page 4117 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 20 September 2011

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on alcohol and substance abuse programs. Before the establishment of the Alexander Maconochie Centre he regularly travelled to jails in Sydney and Goulburn to provide a very friendly face to residents of the ACT who were serving their time outside our jurisdictional borders.

Dr Sharp has been a board member of the ACT branch of the Australian Medical Association for many years, where he was an active member—again encouraging local doctors to help him with his work on tackling Aboriginal health issue causes and treatment. I know that the staff at Winnunga Nimmityjah are absolutely devastated not only by the passing of Dr Sharp—Dr Pete, as they called him—but by the suddenness of his illness; and the support they have been providing him and his partner, Carolyn, has been incredible.

The Winnunga staff are a family, and I think that is clear for any of us who go and visit that service. As Julie Tongs, the Chief Executive Officer of Winnunga Nimmityjah, said yesterday:

Dr Pete was a legend in the whole ACT community and a finer man did not walk the earth … The clients, staff and Board of Winnunga are absolutely devastated at Dr Pete’s passing. Our sincere condolences go out to Pete’s partner, Carolyn and his family.

I think all of us will endorse those comments from Julie Tongs.

I should also say that Dr Sharp has been recognised with an Order of Australia and, indeed, I think he was the ACT Local Hero of the Year a couple of years ago. So we have thankfully been able to recognise his work before his passing. I know that ATODA, the peak drug and alcohol council, have in the last month announced a scholarship program linked with his name; he was able to be involved in that. I think that is very good. The government is also looking at ways to recognise—we will talk with his family and with Winnunga Nimmityjah—the very, very significant contribution he made to the lives of many Canberrans, including those most marginalised and disadvantaged across our community.

It is incredibly sad to see such a fine and good man leave us. But what we do know is that the work he did is ongoing, that he always offered hope for the future around us improving our services and meeting the needs of Indigenous Canberrans and their families. The legacy that he leaves at Winnunga is long lasting, and I am sure that all of us will work hard to protect that legacy into the future.

ACT Greens—policies

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (6.10): I rise to come back to a discussion that came up earlier today in the course of the matter of public importance where, as I noted earlier, Mr Seselja declined the opportunity to actually discuss the issue at hand and instead sought to talk about the Greens’ apparent position on Throsby. The fact that he has brought that up is an excellent opportunity for me to have a chance to clarify the record, because I think that Mr Seselja has been undertaking a wilful distortion of both my position and the Greens’ position. And I take the opportunity this evening to clarify what we actually said.

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