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Wednesday, 13 February 2002
Page: 232


Senator EGGLESTON (6:37 PM) —I would like to make a few brief remarks about Brian Gibson and Jocelyn Newman. In the time I have been in the Senate, I have greatly admired both of them as people who carried out their roles as senators with considerable grace and dignity. They both are people who have worked extremely hard, and they both have made important contributions to the Senate. I consider it to be a great privilege to have been in the Senate at the same time as them and to have them as colleagues.

It has been said that Brian Gibson perhaps has had an unfulfilled Senate career to some degree. He came here with a very strong business background and certainly made an enormous contribution to the process of taxation reform, in a general way through the ANTS package and also through the business tax system. Those of us who believe that the taxation system needed to be reformed are very much indebted to you, Brian, and all over Australia you find people who are grateful that there was somebody like you who was able to bring clarity of thought to the issues and to understand what was needed to improve our taxation system.

I have known your brother-in-law, Bill Leaver, who was the president of the Kalgoorlie South division of the Liberal Party for some considerable time. Bill Leaver lived in Laverton, which is north-east of Kalgoorlie, out on the edge of the desert, and he now lives in South Perth. I must say that I was somewhat surprised to find, when he first mentioned it to me, that you were his brother-in-law, because it seems a long way from Laverton to Tasmania. Bill is a person who, like you, is a very strong supporter of the Liberal Party. Your wives are sisters, and Bill and you obviously do contribute very much in your own ways to the cause of the Liberal Party.

Jocelyn Newman is somebody who has always impressed me with the power of her intellect. Whenever I have engaged her, I have found her to be a very clear thinker, somebody who gets to the absolute core of a problem and deals with the heart of an issue. Jocelyn, along with Brian, brought considerable grace and dignity to her role as a senator, and she did an outstanding job as the Minister for Social Security, ensuring that social security benefits went only to those who really warranted them. She sought to simplify the system by making access more streamlined and by emphasising that people should get benefits according to what they could do rather than what they could not do. Jocelyn's great contribution has been to simplify and to reform our social security system.

I think both Brian and Jocelyn have left nobody in doubt that they have worked very hard for Tasmania and have had the interests of Tasmania at heart. I join my colleagues in wishing them both well in their retirement.