Wednesday, 4 December 2019
It was also Matthias back then, he says! I remember when Cory Bernardi walked up on to the stage—again, I didn't know who he was—and started to address us. There were several hundred people in the room. I thought to myself: 'This person is a man of conviction. This is a person standing before us Liberals who understands the fundamental beliefs that we hold as conservatives. Not only does he understand those fundamental beliefs; by what he is saying, he is someone who lives by those principles each and every day.'
We in this place, as elected members, would all know that one of the greatest challenges whilst you are here is to stand up publicly for what you believe in—in particular, when you are under sustained attack as you have been, Senator Bernardi, on many, many occasions. But you have never wavered. You have never questioned yourself. You have never questioned your principles. Why? Because on the day that you arrived in this place, you were a senator who truly knew what he believed in. You were a senator who openly stated: 'I am a committed conservative. I am someone who, regardless of what is thrown at me during the time that I represent the people of South Australia, will be unapologetic for what I believe in, and I will advocate every day for the principles that I believe in.' You are without a doubt a conviction politician, and I think that, when you leave this place, to be known as someone who has stood by their principles each and every day is something you should be very, very proud of. You have never wavered from your beliefs, and you should leave here today with your head held high.
In the almost 12 years that I have now known you, the friendship that you, Senator Cormann and I have had, I think we can honestly say, has sustained us each and every day. During our friendship, and I think in almost every conversation, the one thing you have always impressed upon us is your absolute love for your wife, Sinead, and your two boys, Oscar and Harvey. Oscar and Harvey: without a doubt, you are the shining light in your father's life. Never ever forget that, because he has reminded Matthias and me of that every single day that we have known him. Sinead: whilst you and Corey might both be in love with the same man—Cory is very open about that and reminds us about it on a regular basis!—you sustain him, you are his foundation. Without that foundation Cory would not be the man that he is today. Cory, I joined you here as a colleague. I am so proud that, as you give your valedictory in this chamber, I am able to say: My friend, I look forward to seeing you. Enjoy your life after politics.