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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 14 September 2017) . . Page.. 3767 ..

At the welcome ceremony, we planted trees around the site to help commemorate the start of building works, and it was touching to see new families truly welcomed into the community with kindness and a broad understanding of their needs. Most of us here know that moving house takes a lot of organisation and patience and, particularly for families, moving can also be quite disruptive. So it is encouraging when the stability of home ownership can be celebrated by those around us.

I was also able to reach out to those in Yerrabi by offering students from Harrison school the opportunity to attend the EMILY’s List annual oration. The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP delivered the oration on extensive women’s issues and reproductive rights. The young women from Harrison School were particularly interested in the relationship between education and better outcomes for women in regard to unplanned pregnancy, domestic violence, sexual violence, reproductive coercion and reproductive freedom. I was impressed that the girls asked questions during the question period and shared their own experiences. It was a pleasure to meet with the young women from Harrison School and to hear their experiences.

R U OK? campaign

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.35): Much has already been said in this chamber today about R U OK? Day. I wish to add a personal contribution. R U OK? encourages concerned people to follow four simple steps that could change a life. The fourth of these is to check in. It is important, of course, to start this whole process of checking on people, but I hope that we will understand the absolute importance of this last step, especially since it unavoidably goes beyond a single event or even a single day. Four suggestions accompany this step. I quote the first and the last of these:

First, pop a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks. If they are really struggling, follow up with them sooner.

Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.

That was the fourth step. Personal experiences this year have reminded me just how important it is to follow up with people and maintain contact with them. A few months ago a young friend reached out to me one day and asked for help. I was busy working, but it is my goal never to be too busy to serve others. When I found this friend on the side of the road, he was in pretty bad shape. I did what I could for him right there and then. And then, thankfully, I had the good sense to keep checking in. Over the course of the past few months I have sought to regularly stay in touch through Facebook, text messages and phone calls.

It is this regular contact that most clearly communicates to people that our care and concern are genuine, and this is what can make a real difference. With his permission, I would like to read out a slightly edited version of a message he sent to me today:

Last night our conversation reminded me that, not too long ago, you came to help me when I was sitting in my car on the side of the road, in bad shape and with absolutely no way out of the situation I was in, but in the end you came to me. I am not giving up hope … God bless you.

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