• Mary Porter

Mary Porter AM (Retired MLA)

Labor Member for Ginninderra in the ACT Government from 2004 until retirement, Feb 2016

    Christmas message 2017

    From the Porter Report December 2017 - Christmas message 2017

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    Once again, it’s the end of the year and our second Christmas at Murrays Beach is fast approaching, and we expect it to be a quiet one as our children and grandchildren have all decided to spend theirs at home for various reasons.

    My children have had a tough year with many trips to Cairns supporting their father who was gravely ill and subsequently died of brain cancer. I plan to attend the memorial service which will be held early next year in Kumbia, near Kingaroy, QLD, where we first lived when we married.

    It has also been a sad time lately for Ian’s children, their aunt, a sister of Ian’s former wife, has died of cancer as well. She had been a great support to them when their mother died so they are feeling her death keenly.

    Life here has been busy, Ian is continuing his work on a board of a not for profit, his regular exercise keeps him very fit, and he enjoys occasional kayaking and bike riding. Somewhat surprisingly, Ian seems to have taken to the care of our native garden with enthusiasm, however not so with my herb and vegetable beds. The possums greatly frustrate him and pose a great challenge for me.

    We continue our interest in horse racing through our trainer, Matty Dale. Fell Swoop ran in the inaugural Everest, the richest turf race in the world. We were very grateful that Inglis purchased a slot for him, as none of the ownership could have stumped up the entry fee! Unfortunately, he became ill during the race so, after such an exciting lead-up, it all ended quite distressingly. He is spelling now and happily recovering well.

    I continue my work with the Law Faculty of the Newcastle University in relation to the Newcastle as a Restorative City project, supported by the other commitment of mine, the NED Foundation. The University team and I have managed to bring together a small steering committee and larger advisory committee from across Newcastle and the Hunter, representing many important sectors of the community. A symposium and professional training day will be held in Newcastle next June.

    Next year, it is anticipated that Murrays Beach will be handed over to the residents by the developers, to be managed under a community title. Currently we work with them through an advisory community trust, with reps from each area of the estate. You won’t be surprised to learn that I am a rep for our area, bit like local govt work really.

    On the subject of politics, Ian and I are happy to be members of a very friendly and active branch of the Labor party here. Our federal and state members are extremely hard working and regularly attend our meetings, and 3 local councilors, including the Mayor, are branch members.

    We do have some leisure time you will be glad to know, and have managed a few trips to Canberra to see family and some of our friends. Fortunately, other friends have been able to visit us, and we hope many more will. Nothing like waking up in the morning to bird song and looking out the window at the lake!

    We had a wonderful trip OS in May through to July, traveling and staying some of the time with our dear friends Paul and Chrissie from Adelaide. I saw Paris for the first time and while there a highlight was a visit to the countryside to Monet’s home and garden, where he painted so many of his ionic works.

    After France it was off to Somerset and then the Scilly Isles, with 2 of Paul and Chrissie’s friends, and their two dogs! It’s a group of islands down the southern tip of England. Very interesting and unusual place to spend time exploring, not on many Australian’s radar or bucket lists I should think.

    After that we spent time visiting friends in Manchester, a couple we had met on our travels the previous year and we immediately became firm friends. We arrived Manchester not long after the tragic attack at the music concert. It was very moving to accompany our friends into town for the annual festival and see how the city came together to celebrate their wonderful community. I must say I found it hard to leave after our friends had treated us to such a wonderful taste of the city’s culture and history, as well as great trips into the gorgeous English countryside, which I still miss.

    Next, we were fortunate to be able to once again visit our dear friends in Switzerland, spending time in their wonderful Swiss traditional country home, driving with them admiring the beautiful mountains and lakes, as well as a trip to Zurich. We hope to visit them again in 2018, however this time in their holiday home in a little village in Tuscany, Italy. We are also very much looking forward to having our Manchester friends visit here in February.

    Lastly, we caught up with Paul and Chrissie again, in Amsterdam, staying in a small hotel well located in the museum district. It was our third visit to the Netherlands which we always enjoy.

    We continue our interest, though remotely, in the Canberra and Area Theatre Awards, CATS, remaining one of its patrons. We have not been able to take in much in the way of music or theatre here yet, however regularly attend one of the community run picture theatres, the Regal, which screens films you don’t routinely see advertised at the big chains. A trip to the Regal is like visiting a community group rather than taking in a film, a wonderful experience.

    I remain a patron of Pets and Positive Ageing, PAPA, in Canberra, though remotely again. I am grateful that Tara Cheyne MLA, elected to the ACT Assembly last election in my old electorate, has agreed to become my co patron, and she has also taken up the important cause of end of life issues which I was working on prior to my retirement. I believe the momentum for change in relation to voluntary assisted dying for the gravely ill is growing, as seen by the recent passing of the legislation in Victoria, and nearly passing in NSW.

    The NED Foundation is consolidating its work post Ned Iceton’s death. The NED Inc board, of which I am president, continues to work hard to ensure that Ned’s legacy is honoured, through the network he grew and nurtured, as well as expanding the community development he supported and championed.

    As you see it’s been a busy year, with some sadness and challenges, and we regret that we haven’t been able to see some of our friends and members of our growing family as much as we would like. On the other hand, we are fortunate to live in a beautiful environment in a very supportive and positive community, with many new friends.

    We hope you have a great Christmas and that 2018 proves to be a happy year. We would welcome those of you able to make the visit to our wonderful lakeside home.

    Mary and Ian.

      Christmas Message

      From the Porter Report December 2016 - Christmas Message

      November 2016 - 3November 2016 - 3 Well its Dec 2016 already and we are well settled into our home at Murrays Beach on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie and looking forward to our first Christmas. The beautiful location, welcoming neighbourhood has meant the big move hasn’t been as traumatic as it could have been. We have made some firm friends and renewed previous ones. We obviously miss friends from our time in Canberra, our political involvement and all those we enjoyed theatre and music with.

      As members of the local branch of the ALP we were able to volunteer to support our federal member secure a seat in the elections. We have discovered a little community run picture theatre which is an absolute delight. We have yet to catch up with some amateur theatre and classical music.

      Ian is enjoying his involvement on the board of a not for profit organisation that does home modifications for the aged and people with disabilities. He is also enjoying his lovely long sleek white kayak which he paddles solo or with the Nords Wharf Paddlers, whilst keeping a weather eye out for the resident great white sharks.

      We have joined the Nords Wharf Progress Assoc, as it covers this area, and I am the rep for our area of the estate on the Murrays Beach Community Trust, the forerunner of the body corporate. I still contemplate taking up painting and hope to give that a try in 2017, and perhaps volunteer as a “volunteer granny” in the children’s ward of the John Hunter. Ian and I enjoy snapping photos of our sunsets and lake views, perhaps one of us will become more serious about photography.

      I am more heavily involved with NED inc. now, since Ned’s death last year. I am now the President of the organisation, working hard to do everything it can to ensure Ned’s vision and legacy is preserved. One of Ned’s passions was Restorative Practice, also a passion of mine. As you know, I was fortunate to be able to promote its expansion during my time as an MLA. Now I am working with the Law Faculty of the Newcastle University to promote its introduction here in this region.

      Fell Swoop with her trainer Matty Dale before a race.Fell Swoop with her trainer Matty Dale before a race. We continue to enjoy our interest in horse racing with Fell Swoop having a great season in 2016. He now has a Group 2 win under his belt, so far he has managed places in Group I races but a win alludes him, maybe 2017? Lola, our Irish Wolfhound cross continues to explore her new environment with her twice daily lake and bush walks. We occasionally take her to the off leash dog friendly beach at Redhead however she isn’t very keen on the sea.

      In August we left Australia’s shores to take our first OS trip post retirement. We undertook a tour of the Canadian Rockies and then took a short cruise up the Inside Passage to Alaska. Afterwards we stayed on to visit Ian’s 94-year-old aunt and his cousins in Kalispell Montana USA.

      Our growing family of children, grandchildren and our great granddaughter all keep reasonably well, we look forward to seeing some of them directly after Christmas. I think the house is going to burst at its seams for a few days. It will be great to see them and for them to spend time with each other. Hopefully we can catch up with the others not too long into 2017. Talking on the phone is great but it never replaces actually being with each other.

      As predicted, the relaxed lifestyle and warmer weather is improving my health and I am enjoying learning to grow vegetables and herbs in my wonderful planter boxes. It’s terrific seeing Ian go out and pick vegies from my garden beds in preparation for of his yummy creations.
      Hope you have a great Christmas and 2017.

      Many more photos in our gallery

        An officially retired person. Lake Macquarie. Life in the slow lane.

        From the Porter Report April 2016 - An officially retired person. Lake Macquarie. Life in the slow lane.

        Life in the slow lane ... takes some getting used to.: Sailing boat passing our vantage point off the deck.Life in the slow lane ... takes some getting used to.: Sailing boat passing our vantage point off the deck.

        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.
        Of course our peaceful environment is the best medicine one could wish for.

        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.

        Fell Swoop: This was taken last year in a mounting yard before a race.Fell Swoop: This was taken last year in a mounting yard before a race.

        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!

          The Time Has Come

          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.

          Yours sincerely,

          Mary Porter

            The Kayak Adventure

            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.


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            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.

            Yours sincerely,

            Mary Porter AM MLA
            Feb 19, 2016