Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Parliamentary Representation


4:02 pm

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

I just want to say a few short words about somebody I have known for only three years. What an impact you've made in those three years that you have been here, Sam. As Senator Bridget McKenzie said, you came here to fill big shoes. Nigel Scullion had been here for 17 years and he had sort of established the crazy Territory tradition here and mango daiquiris became famous. Everyone thought, 'No way the next senator from the Northern Territory could ever possibly go anywhere near touching the sides of what Nigel did.' I have to say, Sam, you've done the Territory proud. I think your reputation as you leave here will be equally as colourful and interesting as that of Nigel. You've made a huge amount of friends since you've been here. I think we all count ourselves as your friend, and we know that when we get to the Territory we'll all be staying at your place!

The other thing I have to say is that, Sam, you have always maintained an extraordinary sense of humour. I was considering your first speech. You said, when describing your beautiful home, the Territory:

To many Australians, the NT is an enigma. They know it exists. It has a rock, a park, and a city named after some guy who discovered swimming iguanas …

I'm not sure that's the way I would necessarily describe Darwin, but I think that just epitomises the way you take life—you don't take yourself seriously but you take what you do really seriously. I think those sorts of comments show that. The rest of your maiden speech went on to explain how you had an extraordinary knowledge of the history and culture and what the Territory means to you. Even though it wasn't where you were born, from listening to your contributions over the last three years I know that the Territory is your heart and you came here to represent the Territory, and that's exactly what you did.

So, mate, it has been a huge privilege to have spent three years in this place with you. We've had many colourful evenings and many colourful days. I'm going to miss you a lot. I'll miss your honesty, your directness and your passion. But the one thing I am super looking forward to is the next chapter of the life that is Sam McMahon, because I'm sure it will be equally interesting because that is the person that you are. So go with all of our love and all the best for whatever comes next, Sam McMahon.


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