Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Parliamentary Representation

Valedictory

8:00 pm

Photo of Carol BrownCarol Brown (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Disability and Carers) Share this | Hansard source

I would like to make a short contribution on two colleagues that are leaving the chamber today, two colleagues that will I miss immensely. I'd like to start with my friend Senator Claire Moore. Her contribution today was what we would expect of Claire—it was warm, it was inclusive and it was insightful. There are so many contributions that Claire has made over the years that she's been here that have contributed to lasting change. Senator Siewert and Senator Wong have named a few. The forced adoption inquiry was emotionally exacting, but there were thanks and gratitude from those people that came forward and gave evidence towards its outcomes and recommendations. We should remember that that inquiry elicited an apology from every state and territory and the Commonwealth. The committee system works well and the forced adoption inquiry showed that.

Claire was also instrumental in the Senate inquiry whose No. 1 recommendation was that there be a royal commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, and at last we've seen that happen. Claire was also instrumental in another inquiry which people don't talk about very often: the inquiry into the living standards of people on pensions, which delivered the biggest-ever increase to pensions—delivered by the Rudd government but put forward and advocated for by Senator Claire Moore.

When I came here to the Senate, I was a former Senate staffer, so I kind of knew my way around—anyone who knows me knows that I don't really know north from south, or east from west—but it was very daunting. And the friends that I made the very first day I came here were former Senators Webber and Campbell, and Senators Marshall and Moore. They were sort of the Breakfast Club—I was more the Brunch Club—I don't do breakfast very well. But they have always been steadfast in their support of me. This is the thing about Claire: she doesn't just talk about mentoring, friendship and support; that's exactly what she gives.

It was evident in her speech tonight, where she took the opportunity to thank all the people that make this parliament and the Senate work, all the people that put together those wonderful reports that come to parliament and enact change. That change happens only if you push it. It's tabled, then you have to go and advocate and push for that change to be implemented by government. That is what Senator Claire Moore does.

She has always been a friend and mentor. I've always been able to go to Claire in confidence and talk about the issues that I need advice on. But, also, with all of us, we just want to know we're on the right track. We want to talk about it. There was her work in overseas development and with disability and carers. The RU486, if you weren't here, was an extremely stressful time. I think, Claire, we might have got it up by only one vote?

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