Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


6:30 pm

Photo of Guy BarnettGuy Barnett (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I stand to pay tribute to Senator Chris Ellison and, in the few brief moments that I have, to say congratulations and well done on your 15½ years, since July 1993. The words that come to mind when I think of Chris Ellison are as follows: passion, diligence, loyalty and honesty. Those words seem to permeate his presence and everything that he does in his workmanlike manner. He is professional and he is a decent man—and that has been referred to by a whole range of senators tonight in this valedictory debate.

When I joined the Senate in 2002, we were soon to engage in the stem cell debate, and that is when I first got to know Chris. Since then, on a whole range of issues relating to the protection of life, we have been as one. It has been a great pleasure and a great honour working with him and being likeminded on a whole range of social and moral issues—starting with the stem cell debate and then the cloning debate, RU486 and a whole range of other issues. Chris is a man of conservative values and strong Christian values, and for that I deeply respect and admire him. He is obviously a very strong Western Australian and a strong advocate for the federalist system. We agree on most things and disagree on a few—including the republic.

What an outstanding and distinguished career Chris has had. He has worn half a dozen ministerial caps during his 15½ years, as well as being Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate—a very tricky, complex and difficult role. I pay tribute to Chris and say congratulations and well done. I thank him for his friendship. He will be deeply missed in this parliament. Chris, you are now moving on to a new chapter with Caroline and the three children. I know you will relish that greatly. We have talked in the last few days and you have indicated your special interest in spending more time with the family and being involved in the private sector, in the community and volunteer sector and, of course, with your beloved Liberal Party. All I can say to those who have an opportunity to associate themselves with or be involved with Chris in the weeks, months and years ahead is: ‘Good on you; you are very, very fortunate indeed.’

We will celebrate tonight not only in the Senate chamber but also at Lee’s Inn. We pay tribute to Chris and thank him for his remarkable contribution to the Senate. In particular, we wish Caroline all the best in having her husband back again to spend more time with him. We also say congratulations and God bless.


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