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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14619


The SPEAKER (10:02): I thank the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and associate myself with their remarks, and I will just make a few brief remarks myself. I thank those who help me do my job—the Deputy Speaker, Bruce Scott; the Second Deputy Speaker and the entire Speaker's panel; the Clerk, David Elder; his deputy, Claressa Surtees; the executive staff and all the departmental staff; all the attendants, particularly my attendant, Luch, who we all know very well. There is no show without Luch. I thank the Clerk, David Elder, in particular. I have known David for a very long time; but before becoming Speaker I had not been a member of the Speaker's panel, so it was not something I advertised. When I sat in this chair on the first day it was the first time I had been here. He was very patient as I worked out what all the buttons meant. I kept wondering on the first day why Luch kept turning up with water when I tried to get David Elder. I was pressing the wrong button! I thank them very much for their support.

I join with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in thanking the Australian Federal Police, who have a presence in this building; all the DPS staff and the executive; the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Mr Phil Bowen, and his staff. Prime Minister, I hope you and Lucy have an enjoyable Christmas with your children and grandchildren. It is a very special time for all of us. Leader of the Opposition, I hope you and Chloe and your children have a good break before what is going to be a busy year. Like me, you have young children so there will be lots of beach cricket and all the things you have at an Australian Christmas.

My staff said, 'Whatever you do, don't forget Pyne!' Leader of the House, thank you for all the work you do. Manager of Opposition Business, the member for Watson, I thank you. I obviously work closely with both of them as we go through the parliamentary day. I thank the Chief Government Whip, Nola Marino, and her team, and the Chief Opposition Whip, who ensure that all the speakers are here on time to keep the parliament going. All members work hard in this place for the betterment of Australia. There is no doubt about that. We bring to this House different ideas and it is a robust debating place as it should be. I thank them and I thank their staff as well.

As the Prime Minister said, on this last day we remember the late Don Randall, the former member for Canning. The Prime Minister's characterisation of him was spot on. In the last parliament I sat where the member for Cunningham is sitting and the member for Canning sat where the member for Lalor is sitting. Occasionally after question time members of the opposition would ask me why I had a horrified look on my face—it was all the interjections that the Speaker did not hear! We remember Don and, as the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition said, we remember other former members who have passed away this year. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser died as well. This time 40 years ago a very intense election campaign had 10 days to run. We reflect very much on his contribution at so many levels.

As the Leader of the Opposition said, we need to thank the press gallery for bending over backwards to always show us in a good light! They are very much part and parcel of this building.

To my staff, including my chief of staff, Cate Clunies-Ross, and the entire team here and back at the electorate office in Chirnside Park: thanks so much for your hard work right throughout the year. Thanks to my family—Pam, Thomas and Angus—for your support. None of us could do what we do without the support of our families. To Thomas and Angus I promise lots of time for cricket in the January period, and I also promise I will hit lots of catches! I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas. It is a nice, quiet time to reflect on the year. I wish everyone all the best.