It gives me great pleasure to rise this afternoon to speak about Amaris Bailey, a wonderful young woman who has been doing work experience in my office for the last five weeks.

Thank you to you, Madam Speaker, for acknowledging Amaris in the chamber this afternoon. Amaris is in year 12 at Gungahlin College, and I know she is looking forward to doing office work once she leaves school next year, like many 18-year-old year 12 students thinking about what lies ahead for them next year.

One of the subjects Amaris has been studying is business administration. So it was great to be able to offer her an opportunity to spend a day a week in my office for five weeks to help us out and to give her some practical experience. Amaris has been able to familiarise herself with what it is like to work in an office environment and spend time in the library with the wonderful staff there. She sat in on some of our committee hearings and our Assembly proceedings today. I hope many of you got to say hello to her. I also acknowledge Mr Smyth, who acknowledged her in one of our recent committee public hearings.

Although Amaris was not here for the political side of things, she certainly got a sense of how the parliament runs and also some of the political side of our work. She has enjoyed her time in the office with me and my staff and has been a huge help, especially when it comes to filing, shredding and getting the stationery order right. It has been great getting to know Amaris, and I hope she has had a good time getting to know us too. She certainly had some tough questions for me when we did a question and answer session a couple of weeks ago—good enough to rival any journalist.

I was also honoured to be invited to her very special and, at her request, sparkly 18th birthday party on 5 September, where Amaris gave two very impressive speeches.

She has a wonderful family, and I pay tribute to Joe and Charmine for their wonderful daughter and their ongoing contribution to the Canberra community. I was pleased that night to let them know how much Amaris enjoyed her time at the Assembly.

Amaris has been supported during her time doing work experience here by House with No Steps. I thank Sheryl and Michael, Amaris’s support workers, for their help as well. I understand House with No Steps supports Amaris as part of her NDIS package and ensures she is supported to take part in work experience programs during her final year at school.

During the ACT government’s recent Twitter cabinet, a question was put to the cabinet from Craig Wallace at People with Disability suggesting that having people with disability as interns in the ACT Assembly offices would be a great way to show leadership. I was thrilled to be able to reply that we were already doing it. Many members, I understand, have and, yes, it is a great idea. For those that have not already considered it, I encourage them to do so.

Last week I represented Minister Burch at the launch of phase 2 of involve, another terrific disability initiative. I thank Neal from the education office for his assistance arranging Amaris’s work experience program and thank my staff for their support and engagement of Amaris during her time here.

Finally, I say a big thank you to Amaris for stepping up and taking on some of the challenges inherent to an MLA’s office for the last five weeks. You have been a valuable member of my team, and your optimism and energy has been greatly appreciated. I know you have a bright future ahead of you.