Page 340 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012

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I think of all the work that organisations like UnitingCare Kippax do for families who are finding it difficult to make ends meet—to ensure that their kids get a Christmas like my children will have where there are presents and there is food on the table, to take away for just a brief period of time the financial burdens that exist for them on any day.

To all of the members here and the new members that have arrived in the Assembly, please enjoy the break, and we will all be back ready and willing to engage in battle in February next year.


MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.19): In the spirit of the end of year I would like to just take this opportunity to reflect and thank a few people. With the changeover at the Assembly I would particularly like to thank the Clerk and his staff in the Secretariat. Certainly being Speaker for the last four years was an absolute privilege. It is quite a different perspective to sit at this end of the chamber during question time, and I wish you luck, Madam Speaker, over the next four years. I suspect you have had a taste in the first week of just how difficult it can be at times as one gets jammed between two fiercely competing teams.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all those staff in my new directorates the very best for the Christmas season. I am only just getting to know them, but it is quite inspiring to meet with many of the staff who are working very hard in the ACT public service on a daily basis to provide good services and good outcomes for this city, and I am certainly enjoying getting to know them. It is a real privilege and over the next few months as we have a break from sitting and I get a chance to get around and meet a few more of them it will be a great experience to really see what they are doing on a day-to-day basis.

It has been a time of change, of course, coming to the end of this year without a few colleagues. I am very disappointed to be back for the Eighth Assembly without Meredith, Amanda and Caroline, but I can assure you all, as I have been asked by some people, that they are all getting on with a new life. They are finding new directions for themselves and they are all energetic people who have got a lot to contribute to the community. They will not be sitting still. Amanda is already back working on mental health issues—she has become a member of the board of the Asthma Foundation in the ACT, taking up that passion that she advocated very strongly during the last Assembly—and each of them will continue to be great contributors to the Canberra community.

I would like to thank my staff in my office, who have settled down over the last few weeks. It has been quite a transition time for us and they have taken to it very professionally, very adeptly, and we have got ourselves up and running very quickly in quite a new role. I know they are all looking forward to a bit of a break as well and I wish them all a tremendous holiday season. They have earned it and they will certainly need to, I guess, bank some energy, because I suspect we are in for a very busy and frenetic time over the next couple of years, as this week has ably demonstrated.

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