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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 16 February 2017) . . Page.. 654 ..


Over the Christmas period, I established my office as a collection point for the local Red Cross’s food drive for refugee families, and I invited my fellow members of the Legislative Assembly, their staff and the Assembly staff to join me in making contributions for these refugees, primarily from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

These refugees have suffered more than many of us can ever understand, having faced unbelievable trials in their homelands with great courage and deep inner strength and then facing a new culture, new language and new ways in their adopted home. I can relate somewhat to their experiences, having come to Australia from Tonga as a little girl, when I knew no English and did not know how to fit into this country.

I wish to thank all in the Assembly who brought generous contributions of food to my office in December. We loved seeing so many of you stop by with your gifts. A woman who works in one of the Assembly offices brought a bag of food every single day for an entire week because she travels to the city on a bus. I am happy to report that Joe from the Red Cross informed me that after he and his partner had distributed the contributions from my office, we in the Assembly provided enough food to make Christmas hampers for 50 families and 150 individuals.

Reaching out to refugee families has been important to my family. Last year my daughter Utopia took it upon herself to sew bags to give to refugees in Canberra.

I thank Red Cross Australia for all that they do in regard to blood drives, caring for the elderly, providing relief to those suffering from crisis or disasters and reaching out to those in need. Red Cross Australia truly shows the power of humanity. I am grateful that they gave me the opportunity to help them in this work and for their continued effort.

I encourage all Canberrans who have the ability to take the opportunity to volunteer and serve others. I particularly encourage youth to be involved in volunteer work. Studies have shown that youth who serve others are transformed by the experience. Studies have also shown that volunteer work contributes to our health and wellbeing. It provides us with a sense of purpose and a sense of contribution. But, most of all, it truly allows us to make Canberra a better place. May we all follow the example of wonderful organisations such as Red Cross Australia and others and give of our time, our means and our abilities to truly build a stronger Canberra.

Ministerial offices—communications processes

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (5.32): I rise today to discuss a matter that Mr Wall raised during debate yesterday in regard to my office’s responses to calls and emails. I wish to advise that my office has a set process in responding to calls and emails that are requested in a timely manner. We believe we have located a particular email that came from an outside source that was redirected to Mr Rattenbury’s office from a particular business in my electorate. That has been responded to in the first instance from my office, and Mr Rattenbury’s portfolio is dealing with it now.


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