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 I am so pleased you have given up smoking. Please stay off the fags. I will be watching you because we want to see you live a long and happy life and enjoy all those wonderful grandchildren of yours, and your husband, David, who I know to be a strong person by your side. In the same way, Elizabeth Burns is a very strong woman alongside the member for Johnston. My goodness, what a hard act to follow the member for Johnston is. I met Chris a number of years ago when he attended a branch meeting in Nhulunbuy. Syd Stirling had told me an awful lot about him, about his history. What I have observed is an incredible capacity to work hard and to adapt and get across information. The member for Johnston must have held just about every portfolio possible within Cabinet, and he relishes every one of them. He relishes every aspect of the job. There is no doubt you relish being in this parliament and being part of debate. You relish Estimates, and I know you have relished the work you did as a backbencher when you were on committees and on top of that, obviously, the most important work as the local member supporting your constituents. If I can use some terminology from my English teaching days, you also have an extraordinary capacity to construct and deconstruct text. That is a very rare talent for people to be able to do on their feet, and you do it absolutely, incredibly, amazingly well. Most recently in your years as the Education minister I have enjoyed working with you, member for Johnston, as parliamentary secretary for Education and Training. I thank you for the rigour you have brought to that role. There is nothing more important than education. It is at the core of everything for growing the Northern Territory and, in particular, our Indigenous communities. We will continue to grow on the work done, not only by you, but successive Education ministers. That includes you, member for Arafura, as well as the Chief Minister, and former member for Nhulunbuy, Syd Stirling. In one of the visits to my electorate, even Bruiser got a mention. We were visiting Nhulunbuy Primary School and were in a classroom of kids. We had that amazing SMART Board technology. The minister, who never had any difficulty in engaging with people no matter who they were, pulled out his mobile phone, put it down such that the image was shown on the screen, and started to tell the children this was Bruiser his dog. Then, he said to the kids: Who has a dog at home? Of course, all the hands went up and you could hardly shut them up. I am going to finish there. I thank each and every one of you - and I include in that the retiring member for Drysdale, Rosco. Thank you for the contribution you brought to this House. You are a very popular member in your electorate; I have heard that from many people. I have enjoyed your good sense of humour; you bounce back; There is nothing nasty about you. I know you are not a truck, even though you might think you are. Madam Speaker, most certainly, the Northern Territory and this parliament is a better place for all of you for your contribution over the years. Thank you and good luck. Mr TOLLNER (Fong Lim): Madam Speaker, as it is the last sitting day of this term, I put on the record my thanks to the people of Fong Lim. It is an extraordinary honour to be elected to any parliament, and the greatest honour the community can bestow on an individual is to put them into parliament. We are seeing the retirement of four members today, but the fact is, as sure as God made little apples, when we come back into this parliament things will have changed greatly. Having said that, it is probably fair to say there is no certainty in this for any of us. I certainly do not feel I am somehow special and will find my way back here. It is going to be a long, hard and tough election campaign. But, I can tell you, the last four years have been an extraordinarily wonderful honour for me to have served in this parliament. I often sit and think it is almost like there is an incredible community hatred for politicians well, maybe not community hatred, but media hatred. Every time you pick up a newspaper or turn on the television, you get this impression we are a bunch of pigs with our snouts in the trough, hurling insults at one another. That is an extremely sad thing, because the reality is, parliaments - whether it is this parliament, parliaments anywhere in Australia for that matter - are made up of honourable people. It surprised me, when I was first elected into the federal parliament, when some of the people I had already built up perceptions and preconceived ideas about, when I actually met them, they were absolutely wonderful, decent human beings; people who you want to spend time with. One in particular stands out - Peter Garrett. I was never a fan of Midnight Oil - could not stand the music, and could not stand his political views. In my generation of people, Peter Garrett and Midnight Oil were extremely popular, and I felt very much alone in my views on Peter Garrett. Then, when he was elected into federal parliament I had the wonderful honour of sitting down with him a couple of times in the staff cafeteria. I tell you, he is a wonderful, decent gentleman to talk to. The old adage that you never discuss politics or religion if you want to be friends with people is a good bit of advice. You should not judge people 3254

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