Labor Member for Ginninderra in the ACT Government from 2004 until retirement, Feb 2016
From the Porter Report April 2016 - An officially retired person. Lake Macquarie. Life in the slow lane.
It’s happened, my husband, Ian De Landelles, and I have finally moved into Murrays Beach NSW on the shores of the lovely Lake Macquarie. I am now an officially retired person!
The first few weeks have been spent unpacking, finding where to put things, hanging our art work and generally making it feel like home. We have been getting to know our neighbourhood, getting acquainted with the local hardware store and discovering the best places to shop.
Getting to meet people who live here is easy when you have a dog, there are many dog owners and dog lovers here, most everyone wants to stop to and chat, ask what Lola’s name is and her history, that’s what dog people are like.
Tradesmen come and go, installing things, fixing issues, delivering stuff, giving advice, all seem friendly and nothing seems too much trouble. Our landscaping started this week, looking forward to having three large planter boxes for my herbs and vegies.
I have joined a book club and we have discovered the local bush care group that helps look after our beautiful natural environment. Residents take the care of the flora and fauna here very seriously. We are blessed with abundant bird life, including a family of Eastern Rosellas who live in hollow in a large gum outside the window of our office, where I sit as I type this missive.
I will shortly meet with the local volunteer fire brigade coordinator hopefully to get involved and Ian has been asked to join a not for profit board and accepted. With the help of a friend involved with the medical profession we have been able to find a local general practitioner and other essential medical personnel, always very important when one is in a new place.
We have joined our local ALP branch and are getting involved in preparing for the upcoming federal and local elections and supporting local candidates. The issues here seem very similar to those back in Canberra, such as public transport and waste disposal. All politics are local after all.
The NBN rollout is another bone of contention, we have no internet connection at all yet, relying on prepaid Wi-Fi. Sadly, vandalism is also evident in our lovely lake side estate, with the perpetrators driving in at night, leaving their mark and driving off.
I have been asked to explore ways to grow Restorative Practice here and elsewhere and am making some connections in this regard. I am so proud of the work the ACT Government has begun in creating a Restorative City and hope I can encourage other cities to follow the example, such as Newcastle. I believe that the vandalism I mention above, is a very good example of an issue which could be dealt with in a restorative fashion with very good results possible.
It has been good to reconnect with old friends up this way and have them visit. One of our daughters was able to visit for Easter and we hope for many more visitors soon. Being close to Sydney we have been able to drive down to see our horse Fell Swoop, in which we have a share, run and come second in the TG Smith weight for age race, no mean feat for him.
We will be travelling to QLD soon to see him race there in the winter season and catch up with our family and friends in the sunshine state.
Life in the slow lane is all a bit strange and will certainly get some getting used to. However, one can never know what a new experience will be like until you experience it!
From the Porter Report November 2015 - The Time Has Come
Late last month I announced my very difficult decision to not re-contest a seat in Ginninderra in the upcoming ACT Legislative Assembly elections due in October 2016. As you may be aware, I have been considering my future, and as the Labor Party nominations to contest the next elections came to a close, I needed to make this decision.
I have always said that one’s role as an MLA is to always give 100 per cent of one’s effort. As many of you know, by the next election I will have turned 74, and I have been experiencing a number of health challenges lately. While not being of a very serious nature, they continue to prevent me giving that 100 per cent. Whilst I am still committed to my constituents, to my party and to my colleagues, I believe that it is the right time for me to move on.
It is a great honour to be chosen by your fellow Canberrans to represent them and I have been honoured to serve them since 2004. I must say I have greatly enjoyed the time I have been privileged to spend as an MLA, and proud of the many things I have been able to achieve with the community. As a Member for Ginninderra I have particularly welcomed the opportunity of helping to make a difference for people who believed they were not being heard or who had not known where to turn if they had a problem.
Many will know that I was able to do this through conducting my mobile offices around the local shopping centres on Friday nights and weekends, giving me the opportunity to speak with thousands of Canberrans.
Introducing a private members’ bill to give greater security for people living in retirement villages, and having it passed unanimously, was certainly a highlight for me, as was the continued growth in the use of Restorative Justice processes in the ACT community, a passion I will continue to pursue.
Advancing the conversation around end-of-life issues is also important, particularly to older members of our society, and I look forward to continuing that conversation for the remainder of my term and after my time in this place. I am also very committed to animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, and have been privileged to work with the members of Pets and Positive Ageing Incorporated and with the ACT Government to make a real difference here, again something I will continue to work to advance.
While I know there will be many who are disappointed with my decision not to continue in the Assembly, I am aware there are a number of excellent community based candidates, who have nominated in the Labor Party pre-selection process. These candidates will continue to effectively represent Belconnen residents, if elected. The changes taking place at the next election, which will see an increased number of members and changes to the electorates, present a good opportunity for these new members to be elected to the Assembly.
I thank you all once again for electing me as your representative.
From the Porter Report April 2016 - The Kayak Adventure
Ian and our friend who is visiting from Adelaide went shopping today for his new acquisition, a sleek kayak. He took it for a brief paddle under our friend's watchful eye and managed not to disgrace himself and returned safely.
Dear Ginninderra Residents
Today is the sad day that I resign from the ACT Legislative Assembly. It has now been more than a decade since you first elected me as one of your ACT Legislative Assembly Members, and I have been privileged to be your member and your voice in the ACT Government.
As you know, one of the roles I have enjoyed most is the time I have been able to spend at my mobile offices at local shopping centres, where I met many of you. Meeting and holding conversations with you in person helped me to understand the issues that are of concern to you and your families. I am pleased that as a result of these conversations I have been able to help resolve some of the issues that you raised directly with me.
It has also been great that so many of you have come by just to thank me when I have been able to make a difference, or simply to say Hi.
Unfortunately due to some persistent health issues, I had to make the hard decision to resign my position as you local member and MLA. This has been a decision I didn’t make lightly and I trust that you will be comfortable to contact your other local members or directly contact the minister’s office with your concern.
I wish you all the best and thank you once again.
Mary Porter AM MLA