Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Parliamentary Representation


3:58 pm

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I'd like to put on the parliamentary record my thanks to you, Senator Sam McMahon, as your fellow senator in the Northern Territory. We sit on opposite sides, and I think that's a really good thing. There's probably not too much we agree on, but when we come together we know that there are issues that are so critical for the people of the Northern Territory and you mentioned those in your speech.

Certainly saving the seat of Lingiari and ensuring that the people of the Northern Territory had two representatives in the House of Representatives and maintaining that was absolutely critical, Sam. It was wonderful to be able to work with you on that. I certainly witnessed firsthand the enormous pressures you experienced on your side. I commend you for your ability to walk through that kind of fire, knowing you're doing so on behalf of the people we both represent.

I reflect on having first met you when coming to politics and out on the hustings across the Territory. They say the Territory is a small place, but it's funny that we never got to meet each other until we were on the campaign trail. Then we started following each other to the different polling booths around the communities. I have to say that people then were asking, 'Who is this Dr Sam McMahon?' Sam, you leave the Senate obviously way too soon in my view, but you can leave the Senate knowing that in the three years that you have been here—with COVID for two of them, and that has been incredibly challenging—you have achieved enormously on behalf of the people of the Northern Territory with the vote of keeping Lingiari and also with the voter ID concerns that we obviously had about the short time frame that people across the Northern Territory would have had to understand that bill. Your private senator's bill must be debated here in the Senate. I hope that those coming behind you will support that and push it through. I have no doubt that you will continue to support that from the outside.

For me personally, it has been incredibly important to be able to work with you—agree on things and disagree on things. I always found that when we came together in an environment of respect, even if we didn't quite understand each other's values, you did respect the fact that we were there representing the people of the Northern Territory. That has been an important journey for me as well. So all the best, mate. I'll certainly see you out and about across the Territory. Thank you for your work on behalf of the people of the Northern Territory.


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