Page 4053 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013
I ran into Greg last year at a conference at the University of Canberra. I had gone to the university on a bus from the Assembly. The stop is right outside and drops you right at the UC. Greg, of course, as he always does, was taking public transport to come back. So we said that we would go together to get the bus. We were so busy and so involved in the conversation that we actually got on the wrong bus on the way back.
Instead of coming conveniently back to Civic in about 10 minutes, which is what we thought we were doing, we ended up on the circuitous route to Gungahlin from the University of Canberra at 6.30 at night. So it took us well over an hour to get back to the city. It was not a problem, because we had plenty to talk about. But I think it demonstrates his enthusiasm. I was so caught up in it I did not even notice we were getting on the wrong bus.
Greg has been on many government working groups and I think he has been a key player in sharing ideas and broadening the perspectives of many others in those working groups as to both what was appropriate and what was possible as we sought to think about the future of Canberra. He brought European planning ideas to Canberra in a credible and plausible way.
I think before Greg came along, many people used to laugh about comparing Canberra to anywhere in Europe. But Greg took this challenge on with relish and sought to bring some of those urban planning principles and experiences into an environment that is different and apply them in a way that was relevant and useful to Canberra. I think he has played a key role in shaping debate on urban planning issues and bringing health, happiness and wellbeing into the story.
I would also like to congratulate Greg on his creativity. I think he is the only person I know that could frame the urban policy wars as a Star Wars-like epic struggle. To try to get this point across, he went so far as to dress up as a Jedi for a photo shoot with the Canberra City News. He was trying to get his point across in what was a humorous and creative way. I think, again, that that small anecdote underlines his boundless enthusiasm for making this city a better place.
I want to conclude by wishing Greg well in the next phase of his life as he returns to his native home, thank him for the contribution to the future of our city and let him know that we will miss his boundless enthusiasm in urban planning debates in Canberra.
Mental Health Week
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (6.20): I rise today to speak about an issue that affects many Australians and, in fact, many Canberrans—that is, mental health and mental illness. Mental illness is a serious problem faced by millions of Australians. Around 20 per cent of adults in Australia are affected by some form of mental disorder every year. Many are disabled by the effects of that mental illness and, sadly, there are many people with a form of mental illness who commit suicide.