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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 18 February 2016) . . Page.. 588 ..


MS BERRY: We have been given strict instructions today to be very brief in our conversation about Mary. I just want to say that Mary has given me plenty of advice since I was elected to this place. Some of that advice was delivered in a way that only Mary could—in a quite honest way—and I appreciate that from Mary. I have taken a lot of her advice—probably all of her advice—in the work I have done. We have had a lot of conversations. The content of some of those conversations is probably not appropriate to repeat in this place.

One of the things that people have always said about Mary is that she is nice—and she is nice. But she is also a fighter, and that is what we have been hearing a lot today. She is a fierce defender of her staff, whom people have mentioned here today, and she has always had the expectation that they would fight as fiercely as she does—and they have. I thank Mary’s staff as well for their visits to my office and phone calls to my office about various things Mary wanted to raise with me and discuss with me in representing members of the electorate of Ginninderra.

She has always been a strong defender of workplace diversity and she has put her money where her mouth is. She has employed Aboriginal people, people from CALD backgrounds and women. She is definitely an example of a good politician and, as Mr Coe says, she gives politicians a good name. I want to thank you, Mary; I will miss your advice and your counsel.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability, Minister for Small Business and the Arts and Minister for Veterans and Seniors): Madam Speaker, I seek leave to make some brief comments.

Leave granted.

DR BOURKE: Mary Porter’s record before entering the Assembly speaks volumes about her adventurous spirit, her commitment to social justice and her sheer determination when she sees an opportunity to improve her community, to get in there, sleeves rolled up, and just do it. From nursing in remote Northern Territory communities to her better-known trajectory here in Canberra, she has demonstrated toughness and commitment.

Years ago, as a member of the Belconnen ALP sub-branch, I remember getting a call from her when she was seeking pre-selection for the 2004 election. I did not know her well then, but we talked about the issues, as you do, and I particularly remember us being in furious agreement on the need to raise end-of-life issues and euthanasia. She has been the beacon on that issue in this Assembly ever since, holding community consultations, lobbying and, appropriately, her last private members’ motion was on end-of-life issues.

When I ran in 2008 I took Mary a box of chocolates as a sign of respect and a recognition, as everybody had told me, “You won’t out-campaign Mary Porter, so you’d better be friends.” She has been that, and a great ally on committees and in the chamber. I will especially miss Mary’s wickedly dry sense of humour that has lightened many a day. Farewell.


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