Thursday, 7 December 2017
He probably is off partying—well he's 23, so he can afford to do that. But Jordon is a force of nature. I've had casual conversations with people and I'm sure, at some point, a 50-year-old will emerge out of that body, because he's wise beyond his years. He will make a great contribution to this place, and watching that ramp being installed in here was one of the proudest moments that I've had in the Senate.
I want to thank all of the staff in my office. It's a tough gig. The pressure is intense. We've always got more work than we've got people, but I want to thank each and every one of you for all of the work that you do. It is very much valued. Thanks to my team—they've done a great job—and of course to all the staff in every other office. I know how hard they work. I know how much commitment they have. They're passionate. They do it for love and because they believe in all of the things that we're fighting for. So please thank all of them. We couldn't function without them.
I want to thank my family. Senator Wong was absolutely right: they make a huge sacrifice. My wife, Lucy, I know, has endured a lot, and I want to thank her specifically. I thank my two boys, Luca and Ben. I missed Ben's birthday yesterday. It's just one of those moments—he tells you what a wonderful day he's had and all of the presents he got at school, and you're not there. It is the sacrifice that many of us in this chamber make. I can't wait to go back and give them a big cuddle—probably not tonight but at least tomorrow and hopefully some time over Christmas. They are the reason I do this job.
And, of course, what a great day to finish the year on! What a great day. It's often very bleak in this place. It's a place where you can sometimes wonder about the choices you've made in life, but today those choices are affirmed. The country is a better place because of the decision this parliament made, not just for us, not just for our kids, but for future generations. It's a remarkable day. We have finally got marriage equality in law and we can now go and celebrate. The nation has taken a huge step forward. I'm so proud of the parliament and I'm so proud of the country.
Let me just finish by signing off, as I do each year. For the benefit of some of the members on my left: have a happy non-denominational, gender-neutral, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible holiday! We don't like using the word 'Christmas'! Perhaps as a tribute to the difficulties we've had through the dual citizenship fiasco that has unfolded this year, let me say Buon Natale a tutti! Happy Christmas, everyone!