Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Parliamentary Representation

Valedictory

7:51 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

On behalf of the Greens, I'd like to say a few words about each of the people who have given their valedictories tonight. Nigel has always been sincere in any dealings that I have had with him. Having said that, I strongly disagree and have disagreed—and he knows that—with a lot of his policy positions. But I have never doubted his sincerity. I will also add that whenever I have taken a problem to Nigel, he has responded, if not always in the way I would have liked. In fact, he did so today on another issue I took to him just yesterday: he came back and responded today. Despite our political differences over policy, which are in many ways very, very significant, he has always been responsive when I have raised issues or perhaps pointed out a mistake that has been made. So I thank him very sincerely for that.

I have campaigned with him on several issues, particularly around supporting some specific individuals. That's where I have also seen his doggedness, his determination to get an outcome, and his determination to take it up to his own in trying to get an outcome. I'm also aware he does a lot behind the scenes to make sure that things get done and to help in a specific way. I thank him and recognise him very sincerely for that.

I will recount one very short anecdote—I could probably recount a lot! A number of years ago, we were on committees together. Senator Judith Adams, who many in this place will remember, and I and a number of other people were on this particular inquiry. Claire remembers it as well—I wasn't there for this particular event because I was in Darwin. But I heard about it straight after it happened, because Senator Adams retold it several times. They were travelling up from Katherine to Darwin. There was an assault that was, fortunately, interrupted and the people involved waved down the car that Senator Scullion and Senator Adams were in. The way Judith told it was that Nigel climbed up on top of the car, jumped down off the car, and chased the particular person involved. We all then had to talk to the police and recount that. For me, that was Nigel—when Nigel sees something wrong, he takes action.

I will now turn to Senator Moore, who I have spent many, many hours in committee with. I thoroughly endorse the comments that she made about the committee system. She and I share very similar thoughts on the work of the committee system. Her work is unparalleled. Her commitment is unparalleled in terms of working particularly for the most vulnerable people. I've seen the friendships that she has made with witnesses and with community organisations.

I've worked with Claire on many committee inquiries. Claire mentioned the forced adoption inquiry. At a Senate hearing in Alice Springs, I remember former senator Sue Boyce, Claire and I sitting down around a table during the lunch break. Do you remember that, Claire, when we were working on the forced adoption inquiry? We were all coming from the same perspective; we were striving for a consensus report, because that's one thing the community affairs committee has strived to do over the years—get a consensus report. Claire was an amazing contributor to that inquiry, and many, many other inquiries.

I think the first inquiry I participated in with Senator Moore was the petrol sniffing inquiry of the community affairs committee. Claire was chairing the committee. Again, I think the outcomes of that inquiry significantly contributed to the additional resources and funding that then went into addressing petrol sniffing in the Northern Territory. I am particularly in awe of the work that Claire's doing on development issues in the Pacific. She has, again, consistently pursued those issues and made an extremely significant contribution.

I was here when Claire was called Purple. Do you remember, Claire?

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