Page 9 - Week 01 - Monday, 31 October 2016

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look forward to their maiden speeches when we will hear of the journeys they have travelled and their plans for the future.

Madam Speaker, I would of course like to acknowledge the new Labor members of the Assembly and also the return of Ms Le Couteur. Ms Le Couteur and I worked on the planning committee together in the Seventh Assembly and I have no doubt that she will again bring a high level of commitment to the Assembly.

To be a representative of our community is a rare privilege. There were many people who put themselves forward for election but who were not successful on this occasion. Especially to the Liberal candidates who did not win a seat, I thank them for their contribution. Their hard work was invaluable and all of the elected Liberal MLAs owe them our thanks.

Earlier in the year I joked with Mr Barr that with this new central table, one way or another, the Canberra Liberals would be getting closer to government. Unfortunately, it is not the side of the chamber that we were hoping for. However, now we are certainly physically closer to the government and I am sure that there will be many issues where the opposition and the government are of one mind.

Of course, there will be times when there is fierce disagreement, and that is not a bad thing. What will define us all is the manner in which we handle those disagreements. It is incumbent upon all of us to do so in a dignified and respectful way.

One of the very important roles of the opposition is to scrutinise government decisions and processes, and we will be vigilant in doing so. We will do what we can to ensure integrity in government. We will not tolerate misuse of public money, questionable property deals or important decisions made in secret.

The Canberra Liberals will also put forward ideas for reform. Just as we will judge government proposals on their merit, we hope that the government will judge opposition proposals on their merit too. Governments are not the sole repository of information and ideas and worthy proposals must be supported, regardless of their genesis.

I would like to thank my wife Yasmin, who is here in the gallery today. Supporting me and giving birth to our second baby during estimates of an election year certainly added another variable to the campaign. I am so grateful for her support and tolerance, as I am to my broader family.

Madam Speaker, all of us have convictions and beliefs that are central to who we are. I have no doubt that Canberra has elected 25 people who are absolutely committed to making this city a better place. If we are to truly make the most of this diversity, we must also accept that there will be differences of opinion. The different perspectives that determine how we should make Canberra a better place show the strength of our democracy. They are not a weakness.

The opposition is proud to have put forward many ideas and proposals during the recent election campaign. We will continue to make sure that nobody is left behind

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