Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


5:44 pm

Photo of Ron BoswellRon Boswell (Queensland, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

Today all of us wanted to speak on behalf of the National Party to wish Chris all the best but, because I was the father of the house, I won the privilege of being able to stand up here today as the representative of the National Party to join with Senator Evans and Senator Minchin in speaking about Chris.

You just have to look around and see how many people have turned out; we have Senator Evans and then on the conservative side we have just about a full complement here to wish you all the best, and that says something. And I see a couple more senators coming in now. We are here to wish you all the best and to stand here in solidarity with you.

Chris, you are one of the ball carriers in this place. You are, in the parlance of rugby, one of the people who could take the ball up to the opposition, and you are going to be very sadly missed. People say, ‘No-one is irreplaceable,’ and that is probably true. But there are some people who are hard to replace—a lot harder than others—and you are one of those. You will go away with all the best wishes from both sides of the parliament and from the crossbenches.

I know that with three children under nine it must be terribly hard to face that five-hour trip from Western Australia backwards and forwards every week. Their victory is our loss. Your family must always come first and we recognise that. I wish you great happiness and joy with all your children. I know that you will take them for walks on the beach around Claremont and you will probably go sailing and play football with them and do all the things that a nine-year-old would expect from their father. Children really need their father at this stage of their development—when they are in the 10-, 11- and 12-year age group. You will be there for them. How can we say that you did the wrong thing when you made that decision.

I would like to reflect on what you said in your maiden speech. In the last paragraph you said:

Honourable senators, our responsibility is great and our burden heavy but I ask everyone, whether Christian or not, to remember in our deliberations the prayer that we say each day; that is, that the Almighty may direct and prosper our work to the true welfare of the people of Australia.

That was the last sentence in your maiden speech. I repeat it today because it is just as true now as it was the day that you said it.

I sincerely wish you all the best. You are being a good father and you have been a good friend to everyone on this side of parliament. You are one of the great conservatives; we share such values as fighting for the constitutional monarchy, and we went shoulder to shoulder to shoulder with that. All the best, Chris, and all the best to your wife and children.


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