Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015
Parliamentary Record 24
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Thursday 19 November 2015 7431 all the clients who often are shunned in government buildings. The way you treat people if you are really kind, generous, caring and take on board their needs and try to do something about it you get back in spades. Kerry had a great way of assisting and working with people all those years in the office. She learnt so much; she also taught me so much. When I say she was my rock, for the majority of that time I was a single mum and Kerry was a single mum. Kerry has four kids she raises as a single mum, but in addition she has three foster children she has had for years, particularly the little ones, Maxina and Bettina, since babies. She has had Douglas since he was primary school age and he is now senior school age. Her own beautiful four children are JiaLi, Serena, Tristan and Naomi. Naomi has a daughter, beautiful little Samara, and it is has been great to see that gorgeous family growing up over the past decade. We have done it tough on campaigns together with my three kids plus I had a fourth one for quite a few years and Kerrys seven. It is safe to say our campaigns were filled with the noise of lots of children. Her kids have camped at my place and my kids have camped at her place. She likes to tease me because I always had a rule when my kids camped at her place: they were not allowed to play with the incredibly large snake Kerry had. I would be travelling and she would send me photos of my kids with this ridiculously large snake draped around their shoulders just to freak me out. She came to functions and events with me because, as a single woman, I often needed an escort to a multitude of events on weekends, Friday and Saturday nights. Kerry was always by my side at those events. I was so proud to have her as my partner at those events because she knew her job was to make sure she engaged with the partners and spouses of my guests so they would feel included rather than ignored and left out of the dinner table conversation. Kerry did it so well that the wives of some of the great industrial leaders across the Territory think the world of her, as do many of the businessmen she came to know well over the years by being my escort and partner at events. She has always underestimated her talents. She has an incredible array of talents. One of the things I was determined to do with her while she working with me was encourage her. Part of that encouragement was to ensure Kerry did the national Indigenous leadership program. I thank the former Clerk of the Assembly, Mr Ian McNeill, for allowing Kerry to go through that program as part of employment study entitlements through the Legislative Assembly to support professional development. Thank you, Ian, for your great support with that. Part of that program was block releases to go down south to attend forums and workshops and be trained. She travelled across the Territory as a part of the program. She had to do a couple of practical projects to graduate from the program. I am talking quite a few years ago now, probably about six years ago. One of the practical projects we decided on, working and nutting out together what she could do, was to create a girls program at Sanderson Middle School. At the time, Clontarf existed; we had boys programs across the Territory schools but no girls programs. Kerry knew the young Indigenous girls at Sanderson. Her eldest, Naomi, was there at the time. They all said, It is not fair; the boys have this program, but the girls do not have a program. We nutted out how to create the girls program at Sanderson Middle School. We could not get any funding out of the Education department, so I got agreement from the minister at the time for us to do a trial. I also got agreement from the Assembly at the time so Kerry could, as a part of the professional development program, be released from my Karama office one day a week and be at Sanderson Middle School to run the program. The program trial would be evaluated independently and a report would go to the national leadership program. That happened, and that year proved the girls flourished under a girls program. It led to the evidence that helped us successfully argue to get girls programs funded across some of our Territory schools. Kerry, quite frankly, without that pioneering work you were prepared to do, we would have waited for many more years to get the girls programs funded at our schools. We know from the DVD that was made of the girls who went through that program as part of the reporting that it was genuinely life changing for them. Many of them said, I would have had a baby by 15 if I had not done that program. Kerry, as deeply sad as I was to contemplate working in Karama without you by my side, I am equally excited for you for the opportunity you now have to fly. You have helped me fly; you have been my rock and you have kept me happy and laughing through the insanity and the crazy work hours I have had. We have a deep and enduring friendship. She still partners me at functions even now she has left the office, so that does not change. A bit has changed in that she is not working with me every day.
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