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Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Page: 23632

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) (3:23 PM) —As the House may be aware, I am travelling to Nigeria late tonight for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. As a consequence, the Acting Prime Minister—the current deputy Prime Minister, the member for Gwydir—will conduct the valedictories on this side of the House. I would just like to take the indulgence of the House for a brief moment, Mr Speaker, to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and to thank you for your many courtesies and your great patience through the year. I thank Ian Harris, Bernard Wright and the other members of the House staff, including all the attendants, for their great courtesies. I will have an opportunity later this evening, before going to Abuja, of personally thanking my own parliamentary colleagues, particularly the Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasurer, for their great support during the year.

Mr Melham —And the Treasurer for his patience.

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Banks!

Mr HOWARD —I even extend yuletide greetings to you, Daryl. If I remember rightly, you had a wonderful cameo appearance in that Sunday program about me.

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister will address his remarks through the chair.

Mr HOWARD —It was very good, though; I remember that very well. Mr Speaker, can I more generally take the opportunity of extending to the people of Australia, through their representatives here, my good wishes, and those of my wife and family, to all of them. I hope they have a very happy, safe and peaceful Christmas. I particularly extend my good wishes to those Australian Defence Force personnel who are overseas at Christmas time and convey to them that they have the special thoughts of all of the Australian people. We think about them a lot, and we hope and pray for their safe return home. Finally, I wish the Leader of the Opposition a merry Christmas and, through him, all of the members of his family. I am sure he will have a restful time. I wish him a restful time, because he will have quite a lot to do next year. Thank you very much.