After a decade in the ACT Legislative Assembly, outgoing Canberra Liberals MLA Giulia Jones has used her valedictory speech to advocate for frontline workers and for the ACT to have increased territory rights.
Mrs Jones announced her resignation from politics last week after standing down as Deputy Leader of the Canberra Liberals earlier in the year.
She has cited a need to spend more time with her family and focus on her health as the reasons behind her departure.
Today’s speech marked the end of a decade in politics for Mrs Jones, who was remembered as a ‘passionate’ and ‘caring’ advocate for the community by her colleagues across all three parties.
Mrs Jones used her final speech to call for better conditions for frontline workers such as police, firies and ambos.
Some of the changes she called for have, however, already been actioned by the Territory government.
Mrs Jones and her Liberal colleagues have long been calling for action on the issue of presumptive legislation for frontline community workers alongside local advocates.
She called for the ACT to be allowed to raise its own police force.
“If we are serious about territory rights, we should be serious about removing the outdated restriction on our right to ensure our community, here in Canberra, is safe and the police have the resources to respond to and investigate crimes affecting our community,” she told the Assembly this morning.
Mrs Jones called on all of the MLAs serving in the chamber to “do better” to improve services in the ACT.
“I believe we have all become too comfortable here. I’m sorry, but it is just not good enough. We need to be striving harder for the people of Canberra,” she said.
Mrs Jones also used her speech to reflect on her experiences as a mother of a large family – whom she thanked for their support.
“I hope I have demonstrated that family is a strength … I have given it my absolute best,” she said.
She also paid tribute to her colleagues on both sides of politics, including the Chief Minister Andrew Barr, to whom she said she once shocked by offering him a glass of water when he was choking.
“We do have some very different views, but for the service you have rendered – thank you,” she said.
Mr Barr paid tribute to Mrs Jones as a “passionate advocate for [her side] of politics” who had navigated her way through the “incredibly complex” world of the Canberra Liberals.
Many of Mrs Jones’ colleagues across the floor also referenced her passion and advocacy.
Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee also thanked Mrs Jones for her service.
“What I think Giulia will be remembered for most is being a proud role model for working mums,” she said.
The two had formed the ACT’s first all-female political leadership team.
The countback to see who will replace Mrs Jones in her electorate of Murrumbidgee continues.
It’s likely former Liberal candidate Amardeep Singh will be the frontrunner if he still wants the position.