Friday, 28 June 2013
Leave of Absence
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the end of the sitting today to the day on which the Senate next meets.
Question agreed to.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
I want to make some brief comments in the time remaining. Senator Abetz has a plane to catch, and I have promised him that he will catch it. If we are going to be on the other side of the table from each other, then I had probably better deliver on that deal. We have had a number of valedictories and I do not propose to re-traverse the very lengthy, humorous and, at times, heartfelt contributions, but I do want to acknowledge Senator Crossin, Senator Humphries and Senator Joyce.
Senator Crossin was in the Senate when I first arrived. She was a progressive woman and I looked to her for advice and some mentoring. I really appreciate what she has done for me in that regard. I also knowledge her enormous contribution and knowledge when it comes to Indigenous affairs. Senator Humphries's sometimes quiet manner belied the rapier-like nature of his questioning. He was a worthy opponent, and I wish him well. Senator Joyce and I have had one of the more interesting relationships in this place, and I have to say that it is with mixed views that I regard his leaving the chamber. I wish him all the very best.
With the Senate's indulgence, I will make a couple of very brief comments about Senator Conroy and Senator Ludwig. As I said before, Senator Conroy is a man of great Labor heart and a very worthy leader of the government in the Senate, and I wish him well. I am pleased that he is continuing to serve. Senator Ludwig is a friend who has always been fantastic. He is someone who has given me great advice. He is a very honourable man, and I acknowledge his service on the frontbench.
On behalf of all senators, given that we are going into a really lengthy rise, I just acknowledge the contribution of all senators, the clerks and all Senate staff and in particular recognise Senator McEwen and Senator Jacinta Collins for their contribution from the government side. Thank you.
by leave—Relying on the tweet from Senator Farrell, I am assuming that we are not returning and, on that basis, that we are seeing the end of the 43rd Parliament. I agree with and concur with Senator Wong's comments—other than that I confess I never did seek Senator Crossin's advice on matters, but I found her to be a very worthy senator and opponent and wish her, on behalf of the coalition, all the best for the future.
Can I do the same for my colleague Senator Gary Humphries, who in fact on this occasion is sitting on the front bench. I have no doubt that, if his career had not been curtailed, he would have been sitting on the front bench in due course. To you, Senator Humphries, all the very best.
To Senator Joyce: all the very best with the seat of New England. We wish you well and trust that the people of New England reward your gutsiness in making the move in circumstances where it was anything but certain.
I conclude my remarks by saying a very sincere and heartfelt thanks to all our spouses, significant others and children who put up with this mad life and allow us to serve in the way that we do.
I thank colleagues for their support and especially Senator Brandis, Senator Mitch Fifield, Senator Michaelia Cash, Senator Helen Kroger and the other whips—and also, if I might say so, the managers and whips on the other side—for making this place work.
I thank the Clerk, the Senate staff and the Comcar drivers for the wonderful job they do in supporting us. Can I finish by thanking the parliamentary chaplain, who prays for all of us whether we like it or not. His support around the traps is very much appreciated. I thank the Senate.
Mr President, I have never had to say so many goodbyes when my full intention is to come back, but, at the end of the 43rd Parliament, I would like to thank you, first and foremost, for the extremely dignified way that you have held the chair. I would like to thank the attendants. I would like to thank government members. I would like to thank those who we do not see but who have so much to do with this place. I would especially like to thank the carpenter who knocked me up a rather neat little statue downstairs.
First and foremost, to every person who is driving and spending the period away: I hope you drive safely. If it is the case, and it seems to be the case, that the next time we see each other is engaged in the field of a political battle, I hope that we can all engage in that battle in such a way that we do the very best in representing our philosophical, personal and political views but leave that engagement in such a way that we can still call on other people as our colleagues and possibly even our friends.
To Senator Crossin: I wish you all the very best for your future. I know that your dedication to this chamber has been exemplary and you will go on to do other things. I am sure that this is merely a corner in the road, not the end of the road, for you.
For Senator Humphries likewise. It is only you and Senator Ursula Stephens, I think, who have the unusual quality that I cannot think of anything you have ever done that has been bad. I do not think you have ever played up. In fact, I think you are quite boring! No, the way you have conducted yourself has been an absolute credit to you through your parliamentary career, and you are something that other people should guide themselves by.
To all the rest: God bless.
Mr President, I just rise briefly to acknowledge that this is the last day of the 43rd Parliament. It has been an extraordinary parliament in terms of the contribution that it has made to the life of the nation. There have been some highly significant reforms during this period of minority government in Australia, the most significant of which include the clean energy package, the dental care legislation, the Gonski education reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. When people look back on this period of parliament they will recognise the significance of what was achieved.
I extend all the very best wishes for all of those who are leaving the Senate at this particular time. I hope that you have a period in which you can enjoy a life without the day-to-day stresses that those of us in political life withstand. I wish you all the very best into the future.
by leave—I move:
That Senator Boswell be granted leave of absence for today, 28 June 2013, for personal reasons.
Question agreed to.
by leave—I move:
That Senator Boyce be granted leave of absence for today, 28 June 2013, for personal reasons.
Question agreed to.