Politically they could not be more diverse, but this week the ACT Legislative Assembly came together to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Caroline Le Couteur and Vicki Dunne on their final sitting day.
Both Ms Le Couteur and Ms Dunne will be retiring from politics at the end of this term and thanked the Canberrans who supported them throughout their tenure in their valedictory speeches to the Assembly on Thursday afternoon (27 August).
Ms Dunne was first elected to the Assembly in 2001 and has represented Ginninderra for the past 19 years. She was the sixth Speaker of the Legislative Assembly between 2012 and 2016 before becoming the Deputy Speaker, Shadow Minister for Health and Shadow Minister for Arts in 2016.
“Today is a day for reflection and thanks,” Ms Dunne said. “The good people of Ginninderra not once but five times have sent me to this place.
“I thank them all for their ongoing faith in me. I thank the hundreds of people who over the past few months have contacted me or spoken to me in restaurants and coffee shops and supermarkets to thank me for representing them.
“I hope that they are satisfied, that they consider that I have lived up to their expectations. It has honestly been an honour to serve.”
Although never holding government, Ms Dunne lauded the community for giving her the opportunity to meet and discuss important issues with the best and brightest people in Canberra and across the country.
Meanwhile, Ms Le Couteur said she was particularly proud of her part in passing legislation that led to the ACT meeting a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels this year.
“I spent my twenties in a community in Nimbin where we tried to build a better world,” Ms Le Couteur said.
“When I moved back to Canberra I became involved in lots of groups and then was founding director at Australian Ethical Investment.”
Ms Le Couteur was first elected as an MLA in 2008 for Molonglo before losing her seat at the 2012 election. She was then re-elected in 2016 in the new electorate of Murrumbidgee.
Both members expressed regret for the work that still needed to be done, including Ms Le Couteur’s push for a positive definition of sexual consent and more public consultation from the Government on planning issues.
Meanwhile, Ms Dunne says she regrets changes to laws that make abortion more accessible, the growth in the number of children in care and protection and the Territory’s rates of indigenous incarceration and homelessness.