Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


6:54 pm

Photo of David JohnstonDavid Johnston (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Defence) Share this | Hansard source

The incorporated speech read as follows—

Senator Chris Ellison has made a very significant contribution to Australian politics in his 15 year parliamentary career as a Senator for Western Australia.

Senator Ellison’s parliamentary career commenced in 1993 when he replaced the retiring, former Attorney General, Senator Peter Durack. Senator Ellison’s talents were quickly recognised when he was promoted in February 1997 by Prime Minister Howard to the position of Parliamentary Secretary to both the Attorney General and Minister for Health. Success in this portfolio was further recognised and he was promoted just four months later to his first ministerial post as Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs and later that year to the position as Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training.

However, it was as the Minister for Justice and Customs that he made his greatest contribution in developing joint national law enforcement initiatives through the combine efforts of the Australian Federal Police and Australian Customs Service. Senator Ellison’s efforts have resulted in Australia being a safe and secure place to live thanks to his initiative, foresight and tenacious attention to the administrative detail that was necessary in implementing public safety reforms following the events of September 2001.

As the Senator who was fortunate enough to succeed Senator Ellison as the Minister for Justice and Customs I can faithfully report that in all of my deliberations and discussions with the officials and heads of the departments that he administered he was genuinely held in the highest of regard.

To succeed such a successful Minister was both an honour and a privilege. His efforts in establishing proper and correct processes made my task as a new Minister just that much easier. For this I will always be grateful.

In March 2007 Senator Ellison was deservingly promoted to Cabinet as Minister for Human Service. In Opposition he served in the Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate.

Senator Chris Ellison has worked tirelessly on a myriad of projects as both a representative of the people of Western Australia and as a Minister who consistently stood up for his home state.

It is with considerable conviction that I say his considerable talents will be greatly missed by his colleagues.

It is often lost by many of my colleagues in the Senate on the rigours of constant travel to and from Canberra from Perth interspersed with travel around my vast home state which can range from several hundred to thousands of kilometres. This often means an eight thousand kilometre round trip lasting for eight or nine hours on at least forty five weeks of any one year.

I wish Senator Ellison all the best with whatever he turns his hand to, and I hope he enjoys the additional time he will now have to spend with his wife Caroline, and his children.


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