Page 21 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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Isabell Coe was influential, yet dignified. At times she was never far from controversy and made headlines around the world because she was a woman who spoke with passion. Isabell Coe led the battle for her people and was not afraid to do so. She showed strength and courage to fight for the cause, and she was still fighting for her people even as her health declined.

This is a sad and difficult time for the Indigenous rights community, but I hope that Auntie Isabell’s family take some joy from the understanding that she has left a legacy which will carry on, and the number of messages of support and condolence are an indication of the many lives that Auntie Isabell touched.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra): I also pay my respects to Isabell Coe, a proud Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal woman who fought for the respect and the rights of all Aboriginal people throughout her life. She was especially known in Canberra as one of the stalwarts who kept the Aboriginal tent embassy going over its 40-year history of campaigning for Aboriginal sovereignty.

The embassy has been a beacon for Aboriginal people’s struggles since its establishment in 1972. It is a rallying point for and an ongoing reminder of the unfinished business of sovereignty, reconciliation and issues such as the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian constitution. My condolences go out to her family, her friends and her supporters.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.


Assistant Speakers—appointment

MADAM SPEAKER: For the information of members and pursuant to standing order 8, I nominate Mr Doszpot and Mr Gentleman as Assistant Speakers and present the warrant of nomination.


MADAM SPEAKER: We are going to move on to inaugural speeches, but, before we do, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of a former Speaker, Mr Berry, who is welcomed back into the chamber. I am sure he will savour today’s inaugural speeches.

Inaugural speeches

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call Ms Berry, I remind members that it is traditional that inaugural speeches be heard in silence.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra), by leave: Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that I am speaking today on the land of the traditional custodians, the Ngunnawal people, and I pay my respects to their elders, past, present and future. As well I would like to acknowledge and extend my respect to any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who are here today.

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