Valedictory Speech

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I first want to thank the residents of the Ginninderra Electorate. Four years ago, they made me their representative in this place. In doing so, they gave me an implicit charge to make sure that their concerns, their hopes and their ideas would be heard. I was deeply honoured to be given this responsibility by the people of Belconnen, and my gratitude for their trust has only grown. My desire to live up to that trust has guided every word I have spoken, every motion I have moved, every petition I have tabled, every question I have asked, and every letter I have written on their behalves.

I rise as well to thank my family. When I became a member of this Assembly, in many ways it turned our established routines upside-down … and sometimes inside-out. My devoted husband has been my rock, and I am grateful for the individual sacrifices that each of my five children has made. I doubt they fully understood back in 2016 that helping Mum deliver campaign fliers before school on frosty mornings would be just the beginning of their contributions.

I likewise thank the staff who keep this placing running. I am grateful for the support provided to the committees I have served on, for the attendants, the librarians, those in the Hansard office, those in Chamber Support, and so on. Their competence and cheerfulness have certainly made taking on this role much easier than it otherwise would have been.

I thank my own staff as well – Brett, Sylvia, Joe and Tahi. Their unwavering loyalty has strengthened me, their collective talents have made the impossible somehow possible, and their hard work and big hearts have more than compensated for their lack of political experience before I asked them to come and help me serve the people of Belconnen. Just last Friday, one of them spoke with an older resident without heating. On his way home from the office, he dropped off the electric heater he’s been using to keep himself warm in our office.

I am grateful, Madam Speaker, that Canberrans know that my office is a safe and effective place to seek help. Over the past four years, I have spoken with hundreds of ACT residents who were desperate for assistance. I have listened to them and cried with them. I have personally delivered food and other necessities to their homes. And I have done my very best to seek redress from this government. I sincerely wish to thank each minister who has responded to my representations with respect and genuine concern. Together, we have been able to help dozens of families and individuals.

Lastly, I thank my Liberal colleagues. It has been a pleasure to be part of such a diverse, capable and genuinely amazing team. Their love of this city and their commitment to the wellbeing of all Canberrans are unmatchable. I thank them for mentoring me and for respecting me as an individual.

I am grateful for the unified leadership of Opposition Leader Alistair Coe and Deputy Leader Nicole Lawder … and for the passion and capacity of my other fellow Liberal MLAs: Andrew, Jeremy, Giulia, Vicki, Elizabeth, James, Mark and Candice. The groundswell of support from the everyday Canberrans whom I meet each week has made this a very good time to be one of the Canberra Liberals.

It is with both sadness and deep fondness, Madam Speaker, that I take this opportunity to bid farewell to Vicki Dunne. It has been a privilege to serve alongside Vicki in the Ginninderra Electorate. I have loved our mobile offices together and our community barbecues. She is an angel disguised as a politician. Vicki is a skilful politician, an ardent advocate for this territory’s most vulnerable, a mentor, an example, and a dear friend. Whilst our personal association will continue, her absence from this place will be acutely felt.

Lastly, I sincerely wish those opposite all the best for the campaign season. We look forward to having a robust opposition to keep a Liberal government laser-focussed on what the people of this territory need most. Thank you.

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