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Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Page: 4392


Senator O'SULLIVAN (Queensland) (18:04): My contribution to these valedictory speeches for Senator Back will be quite short, because I may be the only senator today who is expressing some joy that Senator Back is leaving us in the near future. In a late-night moment, I shared with Senator Back some anxiety that I will refer to as 'secret men's business', and he indicated to me that whilst he was not a medical practitioner he did have the requisite skills to be able to allay some of my fears, for those of us who are aged six decades or so. So, you can imagine how I felt when I came in today and found that he had left me a gift on my desk about the fight against prostate cancer and then looked over to express my gratitude and saw that fierce, stainless steel instrument and that pair of gloves! For my part, I hope you are not regarding me as unfinished business in the Senate!

Again, I want to attach myself to all the remarks. As a newbie here, in essence, I attached myself to you, Chris, on matters and relied upon you significantly, as you know, on some very complex matters of science of which I had no knowledge and still have no knowledge. I have a blind faith in the guidance you have provided. I said to Senator Macdonald the other night that if there was one word I had to use to describe you it would be the word 'solid'. It takes everything in, solid. You cannot be solid unless you are competent. You cannot be solid unless you are genuine, polite and a statesman, and you are solid. I, too, wish you and your wife all the very best as you go into the future.