Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 October 2017) . . Page.. 4212 ..
cool and that you would go campaigning in? Steve, if you ever could not find it, I think your staff used to hide it—they had very different opinions about your hat.
My own staff, Ian and Jess, have worked very closely with you, Steve, as well and asked me to pass on their regards. Ian the other day was talking about his experiences in the Assembly, and he has been here longer than any of us. He was working with you on the dogs bill and he said, “It’s the sort of work that Steve does that keeps me in this place.” That is probably a stronger statement than I could make—what you do keeps people here and keeps people in politics.
Fleur, who is here today, and my staff and I pass on our thanks for your service, for your friendship and for the battles you have fought for others. Now we wish you all the very best, mate, for the battle that you fight in the weeks, months and hopefully years ahead. I will miss you, mate.
MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (11.15), by leave: I am pleased to rise today to add my few words in celebration of all that Steve has achieved in this place and more. My first serious conversation with Steve was after I had lost the 2008 election, in which he had won a seat. Steve saw me walking down London Circuit and he stopped me. He wanted to know how I was and he said, “Giulia, I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to put in so much and to lose. I’ve been there and I know.” It was a really rare moment of a meeting of spirits. We both knew that pain, and he helped me to have the courage to come back and to run again. I remembered that conversation and that he had eventually won his seat here and thought that if he had, perhaps I could too. It was a part of what sustained me through some pretty tough days that were to come.
Steve has a way of noticing something, deciding he should do something about it and never, ever giving up, holding everyone around him to account until it is resolved—or not, in which case he will continue to go after you forever. Perhaps these qualities were forged on the slopes of the mountains of Hungary, as a small boy escaping a political regime which had become dangerous to people with his family’s religious views, a deeply anti-Catholic situation which had become so vindictive that it threatened the very survival of his family.
Much of what we each do in our lives is forged in our experiences of childhood, and Steve through his early years in Australia no doubt realised what it is like to be an outsider, to be at a disadvantage. I am sure he was learning English, feeling different from other kids, overcoming an accent and eating foods that were different from his peers. This experience in Steve’s generation made them tough, and Steve is a resilient and strong man.
Steve has used his tenacity in here to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. One of the first fundraisers I was aware of was when Steve raised money for Scarlett Sydney-Smith to have an appropriate wheelchair. Scarlett had a condition that meant that after six months growing properly as a baby she suddenly stopped developing mentally and in some ways physically. I knew her family quite well from the Gungahlin area. Scarlett had been to my house many times with her mother and had to lie on the floor or be propped up on a sofa chair. As she grew bigger the strain of trying to care for her increased on her family. I had not even thought of her need for a