House debates

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Governor-General's Speech


4:38 pm

Photo of Mrs Bronwyn BishopMrs Bronwyn Bishop (Mackellar, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

In heels? Well, nearly. So that role is very important too—as was getting up an urgency motion which we had passed ultimately by the entire IPU, including Islamic countries. It was to condemn ISIS and Boko Haram and what they had done with women and girls in particular. The Whip was with me, and we were very successful in getting that through. At the end, one of the Iranian women delegates, who was all in black, just came across and hugged me and said, 'That was so important for women and girls.' So there are moving moments. It is a very important role, Mr Speaker, and one I hope you will enjoy in those other ways.

That came to an end when I was asked to resign to protect Tony Abbott, someone whom I had assisted and worked with and respected for many years. There is much more than meets the eye in that saga, but not for now.

I want to say now how grateful I am to my family. I want to say how grateful I am to staff who are still with me and those who have worked for me previously; to the members of my conference, who supported me through the recent preselection—it was the outsiders who did not—and to the people of my electorate of Mackellar, an electorate I love with passion, the people I love with a passion; to surf-lifesaving, which is just such a wonderful, altruistic movement; to our Rural Fire Service; to so many service clubs, including Rotary, who all work—and we will still work—for the Red Cross and the Red Shield Appeal, which is coming up; and to the community which it was my honour and pleasure to serve.

There is so much more to be done. People are concerned about our country. They know that there are, perhaps, rugged times ahead and I truly believe that the principles of free-enterprise is the way for us to go. There is much more for me to do. This journey is not coming to an end. It is a journey I wish to continue and to continue to serve the people in this wonderful country of mine, Australia.

I say thank you to everyone in this House who has been of assistance: the attendants; the COMCAR drivers; the clerks, and it is lovely to see Bernard here as well, and it was my great pleasure to appoint a great clerk in David Elder. I say thank you to Luch, who was so good to me in my period. If I were a judge he would be my tipster! I say to my colleagues—so many of you have been kind enough to turn out—I have formed good friendships, ones which will be enduring. I am sad that the corridor of the BBs is no longer: Bruce Billson, Bob Baldwin and Bronwyn Bishop. It was our corridor. The white rose—the Don—was a dear and good friend and is much missed. There are many of you I call friends—my lovely friend from Bennelong, my lovely friend Ann from Gilmore, and Lucy from Robertson—people who I hope I will still be able to assist and work with.

In thanking everyone for the time and assistance they have given me, I simply reflect that as a woman in this wonderful country I am given an opportunity that most women in the world are denied: freedom. Today I am wearing a pendant that my father gave my mother in 1941, before I was even a twinkle. I remember—every day—that my father and his generation gave me and my generation a wonderful gift: freedom, and the right as an individual woman to say, 'I can aspire.'

I am so conscious of that, every day, that we—all of us—have an obligation to ensure that the next generation—my daughter's generation and my granddaughter's generation—have at least as good a gift as the one that was given to me. That is an awesome task and one that I know those of you who will continue to serve will carry out, because we love the country Australia.

Thank you, one and all. I will miss this place. But, as I said, it is not the end. It is, simply, a change of course, and I look forward to serving further. Thank you.


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