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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 18 February 2016) . . Page.. 585 ..

But as I said yesterday, the important part of this is that Mary has been someone who has facilitated discussions about end-of-life issues, which are not easy discussions to have. The community often finds it difficult to talk about these issues, but she has provided a forum and a safe space where people have come forward and canvassed issues. Even if they have not agreed, it has still been a space where people have had those conversations openly and in a way that has benefited the community generally.

Of course, I could not leave out Mary’s great passion for Canberra United. There has not been a Canberra United game that I have been to that Mary has not been at. At the last game of the season it was very touching that Canberra United invited Mary onto the field and asked her to speak to the crowd and acknowledge her support for our team in green that has been so successful. Mary has been one of their greatest supporters in their very successful period as one of Canberra’s premier sporting teams.

Ms Porter has been a well-known figure for the ACT Labor Party in Ginninderra since 2004 and, like others, in my period as being the TAMS minister for a couple of years, I have been subjected to the steady stream of representations from Ms Porter on behalf of her constituents across Belconnen, not just the letters but the follow-up phone calls, the meetings and the like. I know she has always taken these issues up with great gusto and has represented her constituents as effectively as any local member could.

On a more sombre note, Ms Porter has been public in observing that she would prefer not to be retiring, that she still loves her role as an MLA but that medical advice has convinced her that now is the right time to depart the Assembly. Her disappointment is evident in that decision, but I genuinely respect the fact that she has taken that very difficult decision at the right time and made what is a tough call for her.

Her community will miss her, but they will also understand and respect that she must, for now, spend some more time and energy on herself than what she has done whilst serving the members of her community over the last three terms as an MLA. I wish Mary and Ian well for the future. I hope you both very much enjoy a well-earned retirement in Lake Macquarie.

MS BURCH (Brindabella): I seek leave to say a few words.

Leave granted.

MS BURCH: I want to say a few words for Mary. This is a big day. In her time in this place since 2004 Mary has served this place and the broader community with immense passion and compassion and sincerity. I think all of us in this place recognise that. I was listening to Mary’s speech; and I actually cheated a little bit and got a copy from her office. I found some things in here: in 1954 your father made the call to come to Australia to provide better opportunity, and I think that was a good call from your father. I want to thank him and your family for making that call because our community is a better place for that decision of your family.

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