Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


6:47 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

It is with enormous admiration, coupled with much sadness, that I rise to pay tribute to Senator the Hon. Chris Ellison for the significant contribution he has made to the Parliament of Australia, to the parliamentary Liberal Party and, of course, to the Western Australia Liberal Party during more than 15 years in the Australian Senate. I know from my political association with Chris over many years—in fact, going back to when I was a teenager, when you, Chris were much younger—that you were, as Senator Eggleston stated, known as ‘Choofer’. Back then, Chris, it was not Lee’s but Club Bayview, and you were the president of our Perth division. You have demonstrated professionalism, competence and an extraordinary understanding of parliamentary practice and procedure in your role as a senior minister and Manager of Government Business in the Senate and, of course, in your role as a senator for Western Australia in this chamber.

Chris, all Australians—in particular, all Western Australians—have been beneficiaries of your many political achievements during your time in this place. Throughout your time in the Senate, you have worked diligently and with great distinction. Your retirement is going to be an absolute blessing to Caroline, Siena, Sebastian and Nicholas and, in that respect, I am thrilled for all of you. Nonetheless, it will be, as senators tonight have recognised, a real loss to us in this place. I take solace in the fact that, whilst your service in this place may be coming to an end, your contribution to public life, to the conservative side of politics and indeed to the Western Australia division of the Liberal Party will continue. I think Senator Cormann will agree with me when I say: Chris, you can run but you can’t hide! We will hunt you down and bring you back if required!

For the record, Senator Ellison has had a long and distinguished career in the Australian parliament. He was elected to the Senate in 1993 and re-elected in 1998 and in 2004. He served for over 10 years as a minister in the Howard government, including as Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs, Minister Assisting the Attorney-General, Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training, Minister for Human Services and Special Minister of State. As Minister for Justice and Customs, Chris, you introduced a number of important reforms in justice and border protection, and strengthened Australia’s continuing struggle against organised crime and terrorism. These are truly achievements of which you can be proud.

For all of us who enter political life, being a member of parliament is not just a job; it is our life—particularly when you come from Western Australia and have such great distances to travel in order to discharge your parliamentary responsibilities for your state. As senators, we could not do that without the love and support of our families. In that respect, Caroline, Sebastian, Nicholas and Siena, I pay tribute to you. Chris, it has been an absolute privilege to serve as a senator for Western Australia with you. I congratulate you on your service to the parliament and to the people of Australia and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future. I really and truly wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.


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