House debates

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Parliamentary Representation

Valedictory

3:24 pm

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | Hansard source

I'll just make a couple of remarks. I don't want to detain the House. Christopher and I have been friends for a long, long time. Before we met, I was told that I needed to hate him. I obviously found that impossible. We became friends. We've shared a lot together over the years—the ups and downs of politics and the challenges that all of us face in here. The Manager of Opposition Business made a very important point: through that, the member for Sturt has never lost his grace and he has certainly never lost his sense of humour, even under the most incredible pressure.

You referred to Labor trying to win Sturt. In 2007, they probably had their best chance. In fact, Channel 9 shredded you on election night, didn't they? They'd put you through the shredder. The count was occurring. It was very late in the evening, after Prime Minister Howard had conceded. There were obviously mixed feelings in my electorate. My supporters were thrilled that we'd retained the seat with a strong margin but were obviously disappointed with the overall result. I think probably because of the time difference, Christopher, you rang me quite late. There were about four or five people left and we were cleaning up. I saw your name come up on the phone and I hit the speaker button and all we heard was, 'I'm alive!' I think it was about five minutes to 12. I thought, in those circumstances, that really summed it up. Congratulations. We won't be seeing you here, but your friends will see you around. We really do wish you the best in the next chapter of your life.

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