Senate debates

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Parliamentary Representation


5:04 pm

Photo of Christopher BackChristopher Back (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

That is the case, Senator Hanson. I cannot understand, when I had this outpouring of invitations from the Greens and the National Party, where was the Xenophon party, where were the Hansons, and where were the Bernardis inviting me?

I express my appreciation to the state council of the Liberal Party in WA. They preselected me and got me back here three times. It was certainly the rural and regional members that were able to do that for me. I express my appreciation to the electors of WA, who had that level of confidence. I recognise my staff Pierette Kelly and Lisa Brooks, who have been with me since the beginning of the journey. I especially thank Alex Nicol for being here today. Alex Nicol, in fact, was a staff member for our lovely departed Senator Judith Adams, and Owen Grieve is back in Perth holding the fort. I appreciate them greatly.

It has been a privilege to serve representatives of specific industries. Coming in here as the first veterinarian in the Senate, I could never have dreamed how proud the profession would be. While I am not using props at all, I want to say to Senator Leyonhjelm that I am passing over to you, Senator Leyonhjelm, those marks of our profession that I hope will manage to keep this group under control, as indeed I have.

It has been a great pleasure to represent the agricultural industry, particularly the livestock producers of Australia, and indeed to see agricultural productivity and profitability improve so dramatically. The oil and gas industry from which I came most recently—I have been very proud to prosecute on behalf of that industry in this place.

I recognise, if I may, the permanent secretaries of the Senate, those who support us here, our clerks and the Hansard staff, and I particularly comment on the Comcar drivers because I think they are just such an invaluable resource for us.

I know we all have our discussions and our fights in Senate estimates, but I do go back to the words of my late mother, and they are, 'You'll always catch more bees with honey than you will catch with vinegar.' I am reluctant to mention any by name except for the service chiefs: Chief of Defence Force Mark Binskin; his deputy, Ray Griggs; the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell; the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett; and the Chief of Air Force, Air Commodore Leo Davies. They have an enormous challenge ahead of them to be able to meet the objectives that we in the parliament have of them.

We are all very proud of our family, as of course I am. We have three children, and I do not know why they all left to go overseas. First of all I thought it was the fact—


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