House debates

Thursday, 3 December 2015



11:54 am

Photo of Nola MarinoNola Marino (Forrest, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Having been an auctioneer, he has a wonderful talent with his words. Equally, he is very willing and very capable, which is often overlooked when people have as big a personality as Ewen does. Brett is extremely efficient as well. I am delighted to be working with such interested, enthusiastic and very capable people. They are very positive. I thank them very much.

Equally, I acknowledge the Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne. Until they do the job, nobody who has worked in this place quite understands what the job entails—like your own, Deputy Speaker. I think that his leadership has been exemplary. I thank the Prime Minister for the great honour he gave me in appointing me as the Chief Government Whip. It is not something that I take lightly. I have a great respect for this House, for all members, for the smooth operation of this place and for the traditions and history that go with it.

I also thank Annette and Suzanne in the PLO office for their assistance in the smooth running of the House. What a wonderful group of people we have in this place. None of us take for granted the people who make this place run smoothly. They do it so well that you do not actually see it happening. To all of those who help this place and are wonderful friends to us: thank you. What is not well understood at times is that we come from all around Australia and spend many months here and develop wonderful friendships. I thank those who are part of that. It is almost like a family within itself here. We always see a friendly face. There is always a very warm hello. It does not matter who we meet: they take their job so seriously in making this parliament work well and working with the members and their staff. I do not think that we should ever underestimate that. Thank you to all members of the House on my side and also on the other side for assisting with their cooperation to all the staff, who, as the Prime Minister has said, are the ones who make all of us, irrespective of our side of parliament, look good. They do an enormous amount of work—so often out of hours—and they do it selflessly. I thank them for all of the work that they do.

I acknowledge the Chief Opposition Whip, Chris Hayes. We work very well with Chris and his office and with Jill Hall and Joanne Ryan. They are a pleasure to work with. They, like us, are here to ensure the smooth and effective management of the business of this particular chamber. I really need to thank my own personal staff. They make the whip's office run very smoothly, and the 'Can I help?' attitude is very much what we are about. I thank Vicki Riggio, who has been with me from day one. Back in 2007 when I was first preselected I looked for someone who would be able to do all of the work that I needed done but also be a very strong individual supporter. As members, we need people who will tell us the truth. We need people who are honest and loyal. They are two qualities that I respect most of all, as I think most members in this place would—loyalty and being honest—because as members of parliament we are constantly approached by a range of people who have particular views. We need to know what we stand for ourselves, but equally we need people around us who, when we are looking at issues or taking a position on an issue, are prepared to say to us, 'There are a range of matters that you need to take into account,' or, at times, 'You are on the wrong path.' You need honest people with good intentions who are part of that. That is what I have with my team. Vicki is very much a part of that, and she has stepped into the Whip's Clerk role. It has been a very steep learning curve. However, she has had years of experience in the Deputy Whip's office and is doing a great job and providing excellent service not just to the members but to this House and the smooth running of this place.

Many on our side, and even on the other side, also know Nathan Winn, who has returned to work with me. It is great to have him in the Whip's office. His knowledge of the procedures of this place is probably second to none, and I value that greatly. Julie O'Sullivan has come to work with me and is quickly becoming renowned for a range of her skills, but she has certainly made sure that the members have had some particularly tasty Christmas goodies to enjoy.


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