Thursday, 3 December 2015
At this time of year every year we tend to look towards our constituents and our families as we approach the end of the parliamentary year. We all know parliament is an adversarial place. I see here the member for Chifley, who is no less adversarial than anyone else in this place. But at this time of the year I know he always sends out a nice Christmas card to many on this side of the House, as well as to all the people on his side of the House. We do tend to temper our adversarial nature as it comes to the end of the year.
This has been an eventful year. Mr Deputy Speaker Southcott, I know that you and I along the road have lost a great mate in Don Randall, the member for Canning. It also makes us turn and think about our families. Also, we think about his family—Julie, Tess and Elliot. I know that, as you have been in this place for so long now—20 years—your thoughts have turned to your family, and you will be leaving this place at the next election. I would just like to pay a compliment to you for the service that you have given to the parliament, for the committee work we have done together and for your great mateship towards our mate, the member for Canning.
Also, we tend to spend time with and focus more on our constituents over the summer period because we have fewer interruptions from parliament. I have always spoken about being inspired. I heard a recent story about a young man who is living in Anglicare. He is 16 years of age. He has had to leave home because both of his parents have drug issues and the rest of his family are in the UK. He had been working three jobs and he wanted to finish off his year 12 in a school. He approached one of the schools in my electorate and asked if he could attend that school for the final year. The school said, 'There are certain costs involved with that.' But this young man, who has been working three jobs and paying his board at Anglicare at the age of 16, turned around to the principal and said, 'I've saved up $8,000 at the age of 16.' This is a young man who wants to improve himself, so I took it upon myself, with some other people I know, to raise the extra money he needed for that particular education. I would like to thank Mike Litis, Mark and Heather Gatty, Robert and Ellen Pierce, Peter Treven, Terry Stabback, Jim and Kathy Crone, Bill and Sheryl Harding, and Brian and Ally Thorburn for their contributions to help this young man.
At this time, I would also like to thank all of my staff—Jonathan, Candice, Gail, Keith, Amber and Susanne—for the work they have done for myself and for the electorate of Swan during the year. In particular, I would like to thank my wife, Cheryle, not only for her selfless behaviour and for her contributions to my life and to my role as a parliamentarian but also for the sacrifices she has had to make by leaving her family to join with me. She is the hardest working volunteer I have on my team. Thank you.