Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Thursday 21 June 2012



Debates Day 1 - Thursday 21 June 2012

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Parliamentary Record 27


Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012




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- Thursday 21 June 2012 decisions in regard to issues for Indigenous people. I believe I have become much more compassionate over time, having been enriched by your wisdom and that of other people on this side of the House. The one memory I will always take, which absolutely shook me to my core as Police minister earlier in our time, was a letter I received from the member of Arafura - I still have a copy of it - about the scourge of petrol sniffing at Gunbalanya. I do not know, Marion, if you remember that letter you wrote to me. This was to someone who had, essentially, never experienced in my life or observations - we were early into that term of government or thought much about petrol sniffing. That letter about the devastation happening in Gunbalanya absolutely shook me to my core. From that moment on, not only in what police and health were doing one of the great legacies of your time as minister across a range of portfolios was the volatile substance abuse legislation and the work you did in putting that together. It was very much your own work. Even though we have outbreaks of petrol sniffing across the Territory from time to time, that legislation has saved many lives in the Northern Territory. I will never forget being in Docker River and meeting with the council. We came under siege from petrol sniffers with rocks being hurled at the council office. I was totally aghast, as a father, watching these kids walking around the community with cans of petrol under their noses and wondering how any community could allow that to happen. The fact you put that legislation together is what being in government is all about - trying to improve the lives of people. That will really be a legacy, Marion. We do not have anywhere near the problems we did and we should always do everything we can to prevent our kids from sniffing petrol. Probably the time I enjoyed most working with Marion was being out and about in her electorate. It is a fantastic place. All the Territory is fantastic; wherever you go in the Territory is fantastic, but being on the Tiwi Islands, Maningrida, Gunbalanya, Jabiru, wherever, the people genuinely love and respect Marion as a person. She knows everybody out there, and I have had so much fun meeting some fantastic people who, in another life, I would never have had the opportunity to meet. Marion, you will leave this parliament, as will Chris and Jane - amongst our electorates, whether people have voted for you or not, all three would have your constituents say: Even though I do not vote Labor, all three of those local members always did the best they could for their electorate. That is the most we can hope for. At the end of the day when we finally leave this House, we think we have made a difference, we hope we have made a difference, and people can see we worked hard. To the three members on our side, the great thing is none of you are going anywhere; you are all staying here. The friendships we have made in our Caucus will, for me - I will always work hard to maintain those friendships outside Caucus because we have had many good times. I would also like to say to the member for Drysdale, good luck and best wishes in whatever it is you decide to do, Ross, going forward. A little anecdote about Ross and myself - Ross lived in Wanguri and I remember doorknocking him when I was out doing my rounds one day as the local member. You were doing some gardening renovations ... Mr Bohlin: It would not have been gardening. Ms Purick: He would have been playing with his car. Mr HENDERSON: No, he was not playing with his car, he was doing the gardening. He was pretty hot and sweaty and we stood at the front fence yarning for about 45 minutes or so. We had quite a long chat and you then took on the Beat the Heat thing as a police officer. I must admit, I was a bit gobsmacked when I found out you had put your hand up for the Country Liberal Party because the conversation I had with you at that front fence - I did not pick you for the CLP, I must say. You surprised me; however, in my time in this job, nothing surprises me anymore. Ross, I wish you all the best for the future. To Chris, Jane and Marion, enjoy whatever it is you are going to do with the rest of your life. Please leave this time of your life thinking: Yes, I made a difference, because all of you made a difference in your own unique way. You will be missed when we reconvene after 25 August, whichever way we reconvene. On our side, you will be missed. We will certainly be staying in touch, and please, keep us honest and bend our ears whenever you need to. Thank you. Members: Hear, hear! Mr MILLS (Blain): Madam Speaker, I am very mindful of this point in history, this moment in time when the gap between the first speech and the last speech made by members - what was contained in the first and is in the last, the distance between the two, and the path which has been travelled between those two points. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to all four speeches today, knowing the people and the stories which are evidence of the presence of each of those members. I am mindful, though, of each of the chairs we occupy in this Chamber. The member 3239

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