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Thursday, 26 June 2008
Page: 3583

Senator MOORE (5:51 PM) —I want to acknowledge all the senators who will be leaving this place over the next day or so. Your work and your contributions have been recorded and now you will appear sometime in the future in the august Senate bibliography. We are looking forward to when it catches up to this century. I want to begin by mentioning that extraordinary bunch of women whom we are losing. But we are only losing them from this place; we are not losing them from action over the next few years and many years to come. All six of you strongly reflect the hopes and expectations of the women who fought so hard to get women into this place, to have the vote and be a part of the political system. When you go on the first floor of Parliament House and you see the suffragette banner, featuring women, saying, ‘Trust the women mother as I have done,’ that can be strongly reflected in each of your performances.

For over 20 years Senator Kay Patterson has been a strong servant of her people and many, many causes. The contributions that Kay has made make me think of that organisation that she so strongly represents and loves, Girl Guides Australia. With practicality, capability, hard work, a sense of duty and a real sense of humour I think there could be a toggle for parliamentary service for her.

Thank you, Lyn Allison, for giving us so much leadership and help and for working in solidarity with women. Your work in social justice will not be forgotten, nor will your expectation that there be cooperation amongst women across parties to achieve an end. Your work in mental health, peace and women’s movements will be remembered.

So much has been said about you, Natasha Stott Despoja. But I will not talk about the inspiration that you have been for so many years and will continue to be in the future. I enjoy watching Natasha Stott Despoja in this place, her workplace. She takes command when she comes in with her speeches and her oratory, which make you see the joy, the pride and the real commitment she has to getting her job done. Thank you and we will continue to work with you in the future. I want to see you speaking publicly many times again.

Kerry Nettle, we have worked well together. Your fearless devotion to social justice will always be remembered. Despite sometimes having to fight the good fight with not a lot of support around the house, you are a task- and an issue-driven politician, which is what we need—although that has always been tempered by compassion and your sense of humour and duty.

Linda Kirk, we have always worked well together. Your intellect has been mentioned by so many people. We acknowledge your professional skills and that you work with a quiet dignity, which sometimes means that perhaps people do not immediately take notice. Nonetheless, the strength of your contribution, the grace of your teamwork and the inspiration you provide will continue in your work, particularly in the areas of refugees and social justice. No-one can forget Linda Kirk’s first speech in this place. It stopped us, and we knew that we had real value in her. That value must continue, and we know it will.

I want to talk a little bit about the two Andrews. Andrew Murray has such a mastery of the English language, which he shows so often. I will always remember his statement yesterday:

I like committees because you learn stuff.

I think that sums it up. His contributions will always be remembered, as has been mentioned many times. I want to thank him for his strong support and generosity. He took the time to work with someone who was not good at economics, and that is well known. He intrigued me with the special nature of taxation issues and actually took the time to teach patiently. His work with the forgotten Australians is a challenge that he has given to all of us. That challenge must not be forgotten.

My friend Andrew Bartlett, Queensland has been very well served by you. I could say much about your commitment, your knowledge and your passion about issues but I think that sharing with you the other afternoon the thanks from the refugee community of Queensland means more than people standing up in this place making speeches. That community has a genuine love for you and your work, which must continue. It will be a legacy I know you will continue to hold dear as you keep on working—and you do not stop. You will not stop and that will not happen.

To my friend George Campbell: your knowledge and work in the union movement, knowledge of manufacturing and amazing networks will always be there. No-one is unaware of the status that George Campbell has in that process. I want to mention the amazing generosity of the man—although not always with bills!—on a personal basis. He actually gave time and support to a new senator. He understood the fear that was there and took the time to give advice and be warm and welcoming. I want to particularly mention the fact that George would welcome people from the community who were visiting this place into his office and genuinely take the time to entertain and share with them. We all know his ability as a raconteur; we all know the way he can tell stories. People from community groups in this country who came to this place will always remember the time they had with George Campbell. They talk about the warmth of that experience. He will continue working in our community, I know, but I think that his generosity must be acknowledged, as well as his amazing skill and his life commitment to the wider union movement, including the metal workers union, one of my unions.

My good friend Ruth Webber just made an extraordinary speech; I think it was a wonderful speech. Ruth, one of the benefits of this place is you can have true friendships, and I think we have achieved that. I will remember the great loyalty and support that you provide, your common-sense approach to things, the way you cut through—and I will not say the word that comes immediately to mind—and provide strong advice and the fact that you actually are there in the bad times as well as the good. Western Australia had a good senator in Ruth Webber. Most of her contributions in this place and elsewhere began with, ‘As a Western Australian, my home state’. That was the passion she brought to her contributions. As a party woman, she knew the rules. She knew how it worked and she helped us through those processes. Particularly in the areas of mental health and disabilities, you have done amazing things and we are proud to have worked with you, and we know we will continue to do so in the future.

To all the senators who have become friends as well as workmates: you have done your job. You have made this place a better place and have continued the contributions that this Senate makes to our parliamentary system.