Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 August 2017) . . Page.. 2210 ..
candidate or as an MLA but as someone who campaigned for his local community for many decades.
As has already been said this morning, Val was a well-known Canberran who was passionate about Tharwa and regularly advocated successfully on behalf of the Tharwa community. He was always doing his best to make sure that the rural village was not forgotten, and I am certain that the Tharwa community will ensure that he is well commemorated in the village so that he can be remembered by the Tharwa community for generations to come.
From when I was TAMS minister a few years ago, I can certainly testify to how vigilant Val was in making the case for his community, regularly raising issues of maintenance and service provision for Tharwa, issues of the public domain and the like. The other issue he cared about deeply was ensuring that Canberra was well prepared for the threat of bushfires. His many years of dedication to firefighting, as well as a decade as chair of the ACT Bushfire Council, are testament to this. He received a Bushfire Service Medal for 60 years service with the local brigade, as well as an Order of Australia Medal in 2006 for his service to Tharwa.
During his short stint in the Assembly last year, Val—or Valentine, as he was less well known—continued to make the case for Tharwa. Actually, his inaugural speech on 2 August, almost to this day last year, was an interesting history lesson about Tharwa. It really highlighted to me the immense change that the region has experienced over the past decades, as times have changed, and, of course, largely from the impacts of the growth of Canberra on our rural villages.
The ACT Greens convey our thoughts and sympathies at this time to his wife, Dorothy, and his family and friends.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.13): I would like to thank those who have contributed to the debate by telling stories of Val’s rich life. I would like to start by thanking Val for his contribution to the community, particularly our rural community and the people of Tharwa. I recognise that we have a number of Val’s former colleagues, family and friends here today, and that is great.
Madam Acting Speaker, there is no doubt that Val was an iconic character, and it is likely that we will not see the likes of Val Jeffery in this chamber again. I would like to focus on his time in the Assembly, where many of us got to know Val a lot better. Members would remember that he came in after Mr Smyth, who got the job of Commissioner for International Engagement. I will not use this opportunity to elaborate on that appointment, but you could imagine that there was some consternation on this side of the chamber when that occurred. It was the case that Val was the last man standing on the Liberal ticket, and if he did not take the job it was likely going to fall to a Labor or a Greens member.
Val, understandably, given the short time left of the Assembly and his age, was somewhat reluctant to take up the job. His initial comment, when contacted by the media, was that he did not want it. There was quite a flurry of activity, which my colleague Mr Wall will recall. There were a number of short-notice trips down to