Page 5499 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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To end, I refer to a valedictory in Hansard of 14 December 1996. Santa Claus does exist. It is recorded in Hansard. It seems that Mr Humphries, the attorney at the time, was trying to close debate, and in through the doors came Santa Claus:

Ho, ho, ho, Mr Speaker! I wish everyone a merry Christmas, and to all a happy 1996.

I wish you all “Ho, ho, ho, a happy 2018.” It is on page 3099, if there is any doubt.


MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (7.18), in reply: I wish all members and their families a safe and happy end of year celebration, and obviously a big thank you to all of the countless people who have made this another successful year for the Assembly and for the ACT government. I particularly want to thank the Chief Minister and my Labor colleagues for the support that they have shown me as deputy leader as well.

Of course I also want to thank the people of Ginninderra for choosing me again as a member in this place last October. It is a privilege and I never take it for granted. I hope to catch up with many of my Belco neighbours over the summer break.

What I would like to focus on in reflecting on the year is the bravery of the victims of domestic and family violence and sexual assault who have sought help, and the amazing professionals who provide it. To give you an idea of the scale, in the ACT alone there were 26,000 phone calls to the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and 24,000 to the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. More than 3,000 family violence incidents were attended by police and nearly 700 criminal proceedings commenced by the DPP.

Christmas will not be easy for these people and it might not be safe. But what the Canberra community has shown, particularly in the last couple of years, is that we acknowledge the scale of this problem and support all of the interventions that are needed to stop it. Crisis support services, police, community and housing services, and the many individuals involved do amazing work every day, 365 days of the year for this cause.

The Canberra community has also shown courage and a willingness to support the perpetrators to better understand their behaviour and to change. This takes courage too, and equally dedicated and skilled professionals to work with them through this process. During this 16 days of activism as we head into the break, all of these people will never be far from my mind. I also ask members to keep up their advocacy and keep pushing for change over this festive season and into next year.

I remind members that as of last night the domestic violence Christmas program, which is an initiative supported by Housing ACT, in collaboration with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, has commenced. The program has been running successfully

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