Page 2050 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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Affirmation of allegiance by member

Mr Valentine Jeffery was introduced and made and subscribed the affirmation of allegiance required by law.

Mr Justice Refshauge having retired—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Jeffery, on behalf of all members I bid you a warm welcome to the Legislative Assembly.

Inaugural speech

MR JEFFERY (Brindabella): I seek leave of the Assembly to make my inaugural speech.

Leave granted.

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call Mr Jeffery I will remind members that this is his inaugural speech, and it is tradition that he is heard in silence.

MR JEFFERY: Twenty-odd years ago we believed that the ACT was grown up and ready for self-government. I was one of those who held that belief and I voted for its introduction. I am afraid as I look back that we were kidding ourselves. Sadly, the circus of its introduction has basically extended over 20 years to this day as maturity has not become the mantra of central quality experience. I am just so disappointed as we expected so much and deserved better.

I was born in the Depression and spent my childhood in the shadow of the Second World War and steeped in reality. Although only five years old I remember vividly the declaration of war as I walked into the kitchen at the shop where I was raised and where my mother was ironing and listening to the Prime Minister on the radio when his sad words fell out that “Great Britain has declared war on Germany, and as a result we are at war.” The frightening, sad look on my mother’s face said it all; her shock and despair as much as to say, “Not again”. I can never forget that sadness in her eyes.

As a family and a small village, this little community worked its guts out to support the war effort, from the growing of more food, knitting more clothes, joining up, serving with the Tharwa volunteer defence corps et cetera. The war finished and we welcomed home our brave servicemen with a memorable old time dance in our village hall, a small community proud of its efforts.

The shining 50s followed the war. What stood out then was the excitement of revival and the urge to get up and on with it. We were a rural community in the fifties experiencing great seasons of pasture growth, wool prices of over a pound for a pound, farmers and graziers putting their returns into improving their land, an influx of great new Australians bursting to get at it, and a positive era took off.

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