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Friday, 25 November 2011
Page: 9717

Senator CHRIS EVANS (Western AustraliaMinister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (16:55): by leave—Thank you, Mr President. I thank you for your remarks and endorse your thanks to all the various personnel who service the Senate and its senators. I will not attempt to repeat the list because yours was very comprehensive. I guess the best thing to do is to say 'ditto' rather than naming everyone again.

I do want to thank all those who support us, particularly the Clerk. To Rosemary, I apologise once again for our behaviour this year and know that next year I will have to make the same apology, as always. Thank you very much to the clerks—they exhibit the best traditions of the public service here—the attendants and everyone else who supports us.

I wish all senators and their staffs the best for the Christmas period. I hope they have a safe and enjoyable time. This job gives you many opportunities and many privileges. I for one always remember and acknowledge the great opportunities we get. But the one great downside of this job, serving the Senate, is the time away from family and friends. It has always been the bit I have found the hardest about this function and I think all senators probably find it the same. I think people ought to take the opportunity to enjoy the break and to spend time with family and friends. I have certainly ordered government senators to take a break. No-one ever retires saying, 'I wish I had spent more time at work.' They usually say, 'I wish I had spent more time with the family.' So government senators are under instruction to spend some decent time with their families but to come back to work twice as hard in January.

Mr President, thanks to you and to Senator Parry for your work on behalf of the Senate. Best wishes to all senators, to their families and to staff. We will see you back in February—and you have to me to thank for having a slightly longer break. I have argued many times that we have been coming back too early in January. All the best, everybody.