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Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Page: 6980

Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter) (18:00): Thank you, Speaker. I thought it might suit the House for me to just respond very briefly to the generous words of the member for Barker, because obviously there is going to be a period of time while he is being congratulated, and I did not want the member for Hume's contribution interrupted by the goodwill being extended to the member for Barker. But as the former Chief Government Whip and, I am sure, on behalf of the current whips—I am sure they will not mind me doing so—and, even more importantly, on a personal note, I congratulate the member for Barker on his magnificent contribution this afternoon. I too have enjoyed his friendship and the odd glass of red wine—although I have never managed to get him to admit that the Hunter wine is superior to the wine of his own region. But I will keep working on it beyond his stay in this place.

I thank him for his contribution to the international whips network. In doing so, I should acknowledge that the member for Fairfax and the former member for Chifley were the original initiators of the whips network, but I took it to a broader international sphere by seeking to have it embraced under the umbrella of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Again, my very best wishes go to the member for Barker. I think the whips make a wonderful contribution to this place. It is hard work, of course, but they play an important role. The member for Barker has certainly done a magnificent job as a whip in this place. I look forward very much to hearing from the member for Hume.