Page 325 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 December 2016

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thought for those people who face more dire circumstances. Particularly this week I reflect on the people of Aleppo in Syria. A long-running and bloody civil war seems to be finally coming to an end. It has been a civil war punctuated by attacks on hospitals and the widespread slaughter of non-combatants. It does appear that this war will end with a final series of atrocities. The complex geopolitics that have led to this point cannot be untangled here in the Assembly, but I invite members to take a moment to consider the role of the international community and its complicity through silence regarding the atrocities that are occurring.

Returning to the local scene, the Assembly has expanded significantly in size this year, and I would like to welcome all the new MLAs to this place. It has been fascinating to listen to the inaugural speeches this week. I was disappointed to miss a couple when I had to go away for 24 hours to attend a COAG meeting, but I will be reading them in Hansard, because I would hate to miss the complete collection. I am particularly pleased this week, of course, to welcome my colleague Caroline Le Couteur back to the Assembly. She did not get to give an inaugural speech. The tradition is that, when you have had a sabbatical, you do not get another go. But it is great to have Caroline back, with her energy and enthusiasm for both the causes of the Greens and the issues affecting the ACT.

I am pleased that the Greens are able to continue to represent progressive voters here in the Assembly with a strong presence both in the government and on the crossbench. I thank my colleagues for the collaboration over the year on various issues and processes. It is always great to be able to sit and work with people to sort something out. Usually, it means there is a much better outcome for the community. I welcome particularly the presence of my ministerial colleagues, as we have been able to nut things out through the course of the year and get good outcomes.

I would like to thank all of the staff who supported both Caroline and me in the Assembly over the past year. I am mindful of the team that was almost unchanged through the last four-year term. We have had a few join us recently and some who will be taking the end of the Assembly as a point to move on. Many of us face that time; our staff stick it out until the election and then go on to try new things.

I would particularly like to thank Helen Oakey, Ali Jaques, Laura Stuart, Logan McLennan, Sophie Trevitt, Matthew Georgeson, Jarrah Robbins, Leigh Moran, Veronica Wensing, Rob Thorman and, last but far from least, my indefatigable chief of staff, Indra Esguerra.

I would also like to thank the team over at our campaign office: the staff, Maiy Azize, Leila Simpson and Joel Dignam, who have worked incredibly hard this year, ably supported by a huge collection of team leaders and volunteers who worked incredibly hard throughout the campaign—both campaigns, I should say—and who hopefully feel satisfied with their year’s efforts. I know they all learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Some of them burnt themselves out but they did an amazing job.

I would like to thank our colleagues in the government, particularly Chief Minister Barr. He has just observed that he was pleased with the parliamentary agreement. I share the same sentiment. I think that it sets a strong foundation for two parties to be

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