Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001

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Parliamentary Record 27


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 28 February 2001 and my partner, John, raised our children here. I have lived in Tennant Creek for over 17 years, and for 11 years I have had the great honour and privilege of representing the people of the Barkly. There are not many jobs like that of a member of parliament, especially representing a huge bush electorate and I dare say, like other members in this House, I have dined out on my version of Crocodile Dundee stories over the years, especially interstate. I will always remember with great affection the many constituents who have advised, educated, entertained, and even abused me, but who have never been reluctant to talk to me about the issues they hold dear. They are as diverse as the electorate, but they share the trials and tribulations, as well as the joys ,of living in a remote region. I thank them for their support, their honesty, their courtesy and particularly their patience. The majority have continued to vote for the Labor Party despite every subtle and not so subtle threat from the Country Liberal Party that to do so would mean the Barkly would be punished. I am pleased to be able to say that I have many conservative constituents as friends and I would cite, as an example, the mayor of Tennant Creek. We have been political foes during two Territory elections, but when it comes to Territory issues, Tennant Creek issues, we have often stood together and fought for our community. Of course, I havent been able to do as much for my constituents as I would have liked, and thats one of the frustrations of opposition. But I have had quite a few wins and, as an opposition member I have not been obliged to follow a government party line and have been able to stand up for my constituents. I have represented the opposition in several different portfolios and positions. The big bonus in that, as in other aspects of the job, was meeting so many interesting, committed, and capable people working in such a wide range of occupations. The pool of expertise and talent in the Territory is truly amazing. This is a vibrant region with a vibrant people. It has barely scratched the surface of its potential and it remains the most exciting part of Australia in which to live. Opposition however is a frustrating place to be. My regret is that we have never sat on the government benches during my time, and that I was unable to see the Labor Party plans, especially in regard to the remote and regional areas of the Territory, being put into action. So much remains to be done, just for the lack of political will and the Berrimah Line syndrome. I look forward to seeing my Labor colleagues installed as the next government for the Northern Territoiy and current government members having a taste of opposition. I will be nearly 55 when I retire, not quite old enough to be put out to grass, but not young enough to hanker after another long-term career. I intend to study visual arts in Adelaide and then come back to the Territory, bringing with me, I hope, new knowledge and skills that I can share. I am also hoping to bring others with me so they can experience the beauty and freedom of the bush, and meet some of the people who have made me so welcome in their country and taught me so much. The Territory has always been a drawcard for painters and it has produced some wonderful artists of its own. I want to encourage groups of artists, craftspeople and photographers from interstate to come and see some of the less well-known but beautiful places around the Barkly, the Murchison/Davenport Ranges, the remote and wonderful Gulf region, and the colour and light across the Barkly Tablelands. Adelaide is not home for me. I have never lived there. It is, however, where my son and my granddaughter live, and after a decade of public life I look forward to some family time. I also look forward to joining the Council on the Ageing in Adelaide, just to keep my hand in. I have aheady advised people in my electorate that I will be prepared to become a hospital visitor for people from the Barkly, or indeed from other parts of the Territory, who need company and need someone to be a contact between them and their families. I know that, particularly for traditional people when they are parted from their homes and when they are ill, it is a doubly trying time for them. In case this all sounds a bit too goody-two-shoes to be true, I am up for a bit of self-indulgence as well. I think that in Australia we need more exciting publications for mature-age Australians than those currently on offer. There is a very amusing and entertaining magazine called The Oldie pubhshed in the UK. It is irreverent. It is not politically correct in any way. It has great articles, good brain-teaser quizzes and crosswords, and amusing cartoons. Worthy though some of the current publications on offer are, I dont always want information on the blue-rinse tours, retirement villages and prostate problems. And I dont subscribe to the conservative views of people like Everald Compton. So I would like to work with others to produce something new and entertaining for the 45+ age group in Oz. Just as the IT world has expanded beyond our imagining, so too have the options to cater for a much larger pool of older Australians. Many of 7551