House debates

Monday, 15 February 2021

Statement by the Speaker

Deputy Clerk

3:21 pm

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

I have a short statement to provide some information to members. As many of you would know, shortly after the House rose last year, our Deputy Clerk, Catherine Cornish, made known her intention to retire. Those of you who have worked closely with Catherine will not be surprised that it was her wish to make a quiet departure, but I thought it appropriate for the House to formally acknowledge her many years of expert support, guidance and advice.

Catherine joined the Department of the House of Representatives in April 1994, working first in the Committee Office. As her parliamentary career progressed, Catherine led the Table Office and then the Procedure Office before her appointment as Deputy Clerk in 2019. She has been the consummate professional, respected by members and staff alike. For many years, Catherine has made a strong procedural contribution to the work of the House, most visibly in her role as Clerk at the table.

Perhaps not as visibly, for some 20 years Catherine has also made a significant contribution for members and staff in parliamentary knowledge-sharing and capacity-building. The capacity-building aspect of Catherine's work extended to members and staff of developing parliaments around the globe through work here and at those other parliaments, including in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. In recent years, Catherine has been a guiding hand for a new suite of procedural resources and programs, not only for this House but also in support of Pacific parliaments.

As Catherine will shortly embark on her retirement, I know members will join me in thanking her for her years of dedicated service to the House and to the parliament.

Honourable members: Hear, hear!

I'm pleased to inform the House that after a competitive selection process Mr Peter Banson, the Clerk Assistant, will become the new Deputy Clerk of the House. Many of you know Peter; he's here today in question time. As you know, he has a strong record of achievement. I know you'll join me in congratulating him. We know he'll do a great job. Congratulations, Peter.

Honourable members: Hear, hear!