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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 December 2016) . . Page.. 29 ..

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (10.26), by leave: It is a great privilege and honour for me to stand before you this day. I am deeply grateful to the residents of the Ginninderra electorate who put their trust in me and gave me the opportunity to serve as their member in the Legislative Assembly. This is a responsibility that I take extremely seriously and, as I embark on this journey, I am focused on giving to and serving the people of Ginninderra, as well as the people of Canberra.

My journey to this office has not been entirely straightforward or easy. I arrived in this country at the age of eight knowing only two words of English: yes and no. The confusion of attending classes that I could not understand was further complicated by frequent beatings, both before and after school, and by the fact that food money was often taken to be spent on alcohol instead. This situation eventually changed, but that change meant that the rest of my growing-up years were spent in a broken home headed by a single mother. I decided as a youth, however, that I would not let any negative experiences rob me of my personal dignity or hold me back from anything good. I also made the unshakable determination that the next generation in my family would be protected from such things.

I would not wish to repeat many of these experiences, but I am fully aware of, and feel the importance of, such trials in my life. Without these life-learning experiences, I would not be who I am today.

I would therefore like to thank some of the people that have come into my life and who have made it possible for me to develop and grow and mature. My husband, Sean, has been my rock and inspiration. I thank my children for their loyalty, cooperation, hard work and trust. I am grateful to my parents, particularly my mother, for her strength, for her devotion and for being a compassionate woman. I am also grateful for my dear friends, who have carried some of my burdens and supported me during the events in my life. I also wish to thank all those who contributed to my campaign in any way, volunteering everything from time to resources.

I have grown to love the people of Canberra, and the love that I feel for them inspires me to serve them with all the strength that I have. As a local member, I am determined to act as a voice for the people of Ginninderra. I am in partnership with them to build a better Ginninderra and a better Canberra. I believe that all members of the public should be treated as full partners and full participants in our quest for a better Canberra. They need to know that their input is valued. We want to involve, listen to and support people. Many have expertise and experiences that we can humbly learn from. As we strive for a better Canberra as a whole, we must always remember to love and care for the people we serve as individuals. Each person is important to me, and I want no-one to feel as if they are forgotten by the government.

This desire is evident in my personal life. When my eldest daughter was born 14 years ago, my husband Sean and I named her Utopia. We named her Utopia because we believed in actively participating to create a better society to live in. We loved how Sir Thomas More, the author of Utopia, had a vision for a better society, and we also believed that we can all work together to create a better world if we are united in respect and care for each other. As much as my husband and I have actively

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