House debates

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Statement by the Speaker

3:26 pm

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

Today will be the last sitting day for a long-term employee of our House, Trish Bicket. Next week Trish will retire after working in the Table Office for 34 years. She joins us in the Speakers Gallery in the front row today.

She is one of the few House staff remaining from Old Parliament House. Trish has been committed to the institution of the House of Representatives and dedicated to supporting and preserving its practices and traditions. Her main roles in a long period of service have included producing the official record, the Votes and Proceedings, and, for more than 20 years now, the printed procedures we use here in the chamber. Chairs, ministers, members and clerks rely on these, as you all know, to keep things running smoothly.

There would be very few members who have not received direct assistance from Trish. She has been the voice on the other end of the phone explaining how to give notice, move a motion or present a document. It is Trish who is responsible for setting up our chamber each sitting day, making sure all the right papers and resources are on the right desks. As well as giving that practical support, Trish has a deep knowledge and understanding of the standing orders and practices of the House. In situations that arise very infrequently, or for the first time, she has been able to retrieve the correct precedents from years past and create appropriate procedures at very short notice.

She has worked with a number of generations of technology in supporting the production of chamber documents, from the time when they were marked up by hand and sent for typesetting to the government printer by underground pneumatic tube—which would occasionally flood, I'm told!—to the present day, when Trish creates and prints all the documents we use in the chamber from her desktop and printer in the Table Office.

She has also been a very important mentor to countless staff of the House over the years, and always generous in passing on her technical and procedural knowledge. Of course it goes without saying she will be greatly missed by all of us and by her colleagues. I'm sure members would now like to join with me in thanking Trish for her incredible service over 34 years.

Honourable members: Hear, hear!