Published: 27 March 2020

Legislative Council Thursday 26 March 2020

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I rise to speak on adjournment because we will not return until the end of August. I am unsure of plans for the Legislative Council elections, but it may be that this is the member for Rosevears' last sitting day with us. While he looks very happy about that, it is important we acknowledge the long contribution of the member for Rosevears in this place, in case it is the last time we sit with him in our Chamber.

I thank him for his commitment to this place, to his constituents and to working really hard. I am sure, after the crisis we are facing in this state passes, we will take the opportunity to have a soirée where someone will duly roast him. These are awkward circumstances we find ourselves in. I acknowledge the member's contribution to this place, his friendship and all the things we value highly in this place - his work on the legislative reform we have had, and the support he has provided me in this place in many of the measures I have tried to progress.

The member for Huon is not in the Chamber but he is also facing an election during the coming period. If that goes ahead, I wish him all the best, as we do all honourable member who are facing elections. It is always a stressful time.

As we go back to our electorates, it is going to be a difficult time. Many people are frightened; many people are already suffering and will suffer further, and we need to be very cognisant of that and take every opportunity we can to be kind to everyone. Our supermarket and pharmacy staff and other staff who hold vital roles, including our healthcare staff, teachers and childcare workers, are suffering abuse at the moment because people are stressed. We need to be role models in our community and to go out of our way to thank and acknowledge the people who are serving us, people who are at the front line of this, particularly our health professionals.

None of us has been there and none of us understands the pressure they are under at the moment, so let us be kind and respectful, and make sure that whatever we put out in the media - social media, out of our mouths or in any way we might put something out there - is accurate, factual and is based on evidence and research and that we model the behaviour we want others to abide by. It is going to be tough. It is going to be really hard. I have found it extremely hard to keep up with the number of requests I get every morning through Facebook Messenger, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, telephone this last two weeks. I have found it difficult to consider this legislation we have had to deal with because of that pressure.

Many people perhaps hammer my inbox because of my health background, but I want all of us to step up and practice that behaviour. Wash your hands; stay at home; not go out unless you have to. Support our constituents but, most of all, be kind - please, be kind. This is a really tough time. I am a bit frightened, too, because I know what this can do, so please, be kind.




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