Tuesday, 06 February 2018 11:00


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Thank you, Madam Chairman, I rise to speak tonight on my attendance at the Local Government Association Queensland Conference that was held in Gladstone in October. The exact date, Tuesday 17 October and I know that because that was my daughter's 19th birthday so she was more than happy I was in Gladstone while she was partying down here where I couldn't see her.

Anyway, as Councillor TOOMEY mentioned, it was very wet and windy weather up there in Gladstone but it didn't really matter because we particularly spent all our time inside anyway. So we really didn't get outside much at all but yes there was a lot of flooding road closures and stuff like that. So residents did suffer unfortunately due to that storm event.

There were two guest speakers, in particular the one I enjoyed listening to was Zelda la Grange as has been mentioned. She was the personal assistant to Nelson Mandela for more than 19 years. She grew up obviously in a white Afrikaans family, very racist and the first she knew of Nelson Mandela was the day he got out of prison and her parents had said to her, they have let the terrorist out of prison and that's what she was led to believe and she never questioned that.

Anyway, circumstances led to her applying for a position within that government and she ended up as I said becoming his actual personal assistant and companion for over 19 years so it was a really amazing story that she had from where she had come when she was 23 to where she is now 45 and was with him up until his death. So obviously a very close relationship and she looked after all his travel arrangements and was the gatekeeper of his diary so was actually quite a very important person.

The other speak by the name of Sebastian Terry. He spoke about his adventures after deciding to write his 100 Things to do list. This came about as a result of a friend of his dying extremely young and he didn't feel he wanted to look at his life with regret. So he talked about all the things that he'd done. One of the things, it was actually number two on his list, was to marry a stranger in Vegas which he did within two days of arriving in Las Vegas he convinced this stranger to marry him and they obviously then got divorced I'm guessing, he didn't say anything.

Yes, so he basically now travels the world fulfilling his list but also helping others fulfil theirs. I think that was where he was going with his speech. This had become not about so much him in his list, it was about people around the world and their lists. Obviously, with the advent of social media he's got Twitter and Facebook and Snapchat and all that.

If a person writes to him and says I have a specific list or item on my list that I want to fulfil, he sometimes—he will send that out to his greater community and then he'll get all the ideas coming back and people will help him with that sort of stuff to help other people to fulfil their list.

He's written a book obviously—that was number 100 on his list and he's managed to achieve that. We all bought a copy of the book which he very kindly signed for us. He wrote in my one what's on your list? Number one. I have to say I still haven't written down what my number one on my list is yet. So maybe over the Christmas holidays I might have time to think about it.

Also, the other thing is I want to offer my congratulations to all the LGAQ as an organisation and in particular Mayor Jamieson as President. He runs a pretty tight ship. I've been down to the—I've been to the Women's Local Governments and I've been down to the one in Canberra, the Australia one and I have to say Queensland certainly knows how to run a convention.

We got through more than 90 motions pretty much in one day. It was a day a half and that's with all the other speakers, all the presentations and everything like that. Yes, there was some robust debate which is always good to have and to hear. There were also quite a few laughs, unfortunately at Mayor Williams' expense because she'd done a few motions that she never quite managed to get up.

It was—in the end the debate was really very respectful and also congratulations to the workers and volunteers and residents of Gladstone who had this invasion of quite a few hundred people coming to the area. Yes, there was entertainment at the gala dinner on the Saturday evening. It was interesting and as I've mentioned to the LORD MAYOR, we need to make sure that we do as well, if not better. I won't go into the details of what the entertainment was but if you're interested I'm happy to tell you.

Yes, and the other person we had there was Marcia Hines was also their singer as well with her band. So I just want to say thank you to the Council officer who always travels with us. She makes sure we get on our planes, she makes sure we've got all our bags and we get to where we need to be when we're supposed to be and I know a lot of work goes into that behind the scenes. So she knows who she is, we won't mention her by name but thank you very much for all your help and thank you to Councillor BOURKE and Councillor TOOMEY for being wonderful travelling companions. Thank you.

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