Page 25 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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Obviously, Madam Speaker, my work and experiences at United Voice informed my decision to run for the Legislative Assembly, but it was also my desire to bring a local voice from my community to government. My team and I visited thousands of homes during the campaign, having wonderful conversations about the state of politics in the city and the country, how we needed to improve internet access in Dunlop, how important our recreational parks and playgrounds are to our community and how we can continue to build on our great health and education system.

It is a funny experience, putting yourself out there in your community and asking them to vote for you, but I believe there is nothing more democratic than the act of connecting with your community, building a relationship with them and empowering them by involving them in the activities of government. I strongly believe that consultation is more than inviting submissions after a course of action has been decided. It must be genuine and it must form part of the initiative, not something that is just tacked on at the end.

Madam Speaker, I am the newest Labor member in this Assembly, and I recognise all of those Labor members who have come before me. It is a privilege to represent Australia’s oldest continuing political party in the ACT. Labor has been active in Canberra since the 1930s, and since self-government Labor has had a proud history of making Canberra the fair, progressive and prosperous place that it is. Achievements such as the decriminalisation of abortion, the first Human Rights Act in Australia, portable long service leave, and our nation-leading commitments to cutting emissions and investing in renewable energy show that ACT Labor remains the voice for progressive and working people in Canberra.

Whether it is helping working people understand that they have strength in their collective actions or working with a community to help them solve their problems, I strongly believe in the power of community organising to have a positive impact on people’s lives in the best practices of the Labor tradition, and I intend on bringing this philosophy with me as I embark on this term.

MR WALL (Brindabella), by leave: I am delighted to be elected as a representative of the electorate of Brindabella, as well as a representative of the Liberal Party. On 20 October the residents of Brindabella voted for change. They voted for lower costs of living. They voted for better municipal services, like a green bin. They voted for better funding of schools. They voted for a plan to deliver better local services.

It is now my role to hold the members opposite to account. They will need to account to the people of Brindabella for every decision they make that fails to deliver what they overwhelmingly voted for—good local government.

Madam Speaker, it is customary on this occasion to acknowledge my family, my upbringing and what brings me to this place. I was born in Canberra. When I came into this world, my parents, Peter and Barbara, were in the midst of moving into a newly built home in Stirling. Dad operated a local hardware store and mum was a legal secretary, soon to be a stay-at-home mum. I was also blessed to have my grandmother living with us at the time. I was now part of a typical Canberra family. Four years later, my sister Melissa arrived on the scene, completing our family.

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