House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Child Support and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2010

Second Reading

12:59 pm

Photo of Julia IrwinJulia Irwin (Fowler, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, I am apologising! I do not know if I hold the record for female members of this House—I may share the record with my friend and my mentor, the Hon. Janice Crosio, former member for Prospect—for the number of occasions of being sin-binned during question time, and possibly two or three times being asked to leave for 24 hours. But I assure you, Mr Speaker, that this morning—and you are going to be very, very proud of me—I finally did take the trouble to read standing order 94 and I can now see what all the fuss was about. And having said that, can I thank speakers past and present for the many indulgences I have been allowed over the years and in particular today.

Which leaves me with the other 148 members of the House, friends and foes alike. As has been said before, not all the foes are on the other side of the House and not everyone on this side can be counted as a friend. Can I say to the friends, and they definitely know who they are, I thank you for your friendship and support over my years in this place. And to those friends who will go on to the next parliament, can I offer the tribute made by Les Haylen—a man I have had discussions with for many years, along with his son Wayne—in his book Twenty years hard Labor:

To my mates in Canberra, the ones who saw clearest, fought hardest and suffered most in the struggle.

Mr Speaker, there is one other group that I must thank: my family. Unlike Petro, I am leaving this until the last. When I look back over what now seems a short time, I have seen my children, Rebecca and Blake, grow into adulthood, complete university and establish their own homes, and I am so proud of them. I have been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, Liam and James Hunt, and I lost my beloved father, Alan Welsh, in 2006. Family life goes on regardless of what happens here in Canberra. With my mother, a true believer, a life member of the party, Lois Welsh, and my sister, Helen del Gallo, I have known the love, support and comfort of a very, very close family and I have been sustained through the highs and definitely the lows of life as a member of parliament by the love and support of my best friend, my husband, Geoff.

Those members fortunate to have a loving partner will understand the bliss at the end of a sitting week of returning to a home-cooked meal and a chance to shrug off the mask of life in Canberra. Thanks to Geoff I have been able to return for another bout, refreshed, rearmed and ready for another battle. While there is much that I will miss in Canberra, I am looking forward to the role finally of being a full-time wife, daughter, sister, mother and grandmother.

Mr Speaker, like Hillary Clinton I have not made the impossible possible, but I have definitely given it my best shot. I do leave this place with my heart bruised but it is definitely not broken, my spirit tested but not bowed and I leave with my integrity intact.


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