Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


6:25 pm

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector) Share this | Hansard source

There is a book written by an American politician called Character Makes a Difference. When I was reading this book, I was thinking of politicians that it would apply to. Very few so ably fit into the Character Makes a Difference mould as Senator Chris Ellison. I say that not because you are a character, Chris, although there are many who would testify that you are—I never stayed out late with him because we are both family men now, aren’t we, Chris?—but you are a man of extraordinarily good character. I think that is something that has been recognised and admired by all of your colleagues. You have remained very true to your values, your beliefs and your convictions throughout your parliamentary career. In the 2½ years that I have been here with you, I have admired that very much.

You are a man of great integrity. For the 15 or 16 years you have been here, Chris, I would like to say to Caroline: ‘Thank you for sharing him with us. You have shared his service and his distinguished contribution to the country. Your loss has been our gain because we have been able to benefit from it.’ You have been a wonderful inspiration. I say to Chris’s children, Siena, Nicholas and Sebastian: you will be pleased that your father is going to be at home. You should always be assured that your father is a very good man, and I hope that he will be an inspiration to you like he has been to so many of us. I hope that he will mentor you like he has mentored so many of us—as a father figure—in a slightly different capacity but with no less success.

I say also to Siena, Nicholas and Sebastian: as you grow up, you will realise that fathers and politicians are not always right. But your father, I am happy to say, started right; he stayed right; and I hope he continues to be right for many years to come. Be assured that your father is a man of integrity, even when you disagree with him, as you will on occasion. It has been a great privilege to have served with you in this place, Chris. I hope that our friendship does not cease here. I hope from the heart that we will have an ongoing dialogue. You have made a great contribution to the Senate and to your country. Your family deserves your attention. I just want to say thank you for all you have done.


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