Tuesday, 24 June 2014
There is much said about the collegiality of the Senate. I would like to reflect on and add my own perspectives to the valedictory speeches that have been made. Senator Thorp from Tasmania and Senator Stephens from New South Wales have demonstrated great collegiality in the work that I have done with them. I have worked on the Community Affairs References Committee with Senator Thorp, and I thank her for her great enthusiasm in the inquiry on grandparents rearing grandchildren, which we are currently undertaking. She has been a most enjoyable participant as we have travelled around the country. Can I also add my comments in relation to the great work that Senator Stephens did in being a significant driving force in the work of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. I congratulate her on her great early stewardship of that.
I might leave my most significant contribution to remarking on the work that Senator Pratt has done as a Western Australian senator. I think it is fair to say, Senator Pratt, that there is not much that we agree on. You could not by any extent of the imagination call me a comrade without having a broad smile on your face. Despite that, you have been a very, very powerful champion for LGBTI issues in this place, in our national parliament—indeed, across our country—and most particularly you have been a very strong community advocate for LGBTI issues back home in Western Australia. I think you should be applauded for the great courage and conviction you have shown for the LGBTI community. I know that our views on certain issues differ, but we are united in our view that people are deserving of dignity and respect, irrespective of various issues, and most particularly if they are gay, lesbian, transgender or intersex people. I congratulate you on that. I extend my very warmest wishes to you and Aram as you begin on the path of experiencing for yourself the joys of raising a family. I congratulate you on what has been a very stellar contribution to important issues in our community.