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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 13987


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (16:33): Yes, 2012 has been an interesting year. Every year is an interesting year, but 2012 has had its moments. We had a change of government in Queensland. We had a change of leadership in China. We had the Olympics and the Paralympics come around again, and Australian athletes did magnificently in both. We had the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings. That was a terrible stain, but so many people are trying to bring healing even from that. We had tragedy but progress in Afghanistan. Of course, just in the last few days we had the completion of the Howard-Anderson-Turnbull Murray-Darling plan, which reflects well on many people in this parliament, although I do acknowledge the deep concerns over the implementation of the plan which are held by many people in the basin communities.

Madam Speaker, I thank you for the difficult task that you perform well. I thank the clerks for their guardianship of the standards of the parliament; the PLO for the work they do with all members; the Library for making us seem more knowledgeable and wise than we often really are; the attendants, who keep the place running smoothly; the guides, who introduce this building to the public; the drivers, who get us to places on time; and the cleaners, who have had a lot of work to do this week, in particular. My own cleaners, Olga and Maria, deserve a special mention.

And, of course, I thank my colleagues. I am incredibly well served by my senior colleagues: Warren Truss, the Leader of the National Party; Julie Bishop, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition; Christopher Pyne, the Manager of Opposition Business; and Joe Hockey, the shadow Treasurer. All of them have shown tremendous team spirit; all of them have had excellent years. I acknowledge my staff, led by Peta Credlin, my strong right hand.

I acknowledge and honour my family. All of us acknowledge our families; we could not be here but for their patience, forbearance and tolerance. They are the people who suffer through our public lives and we must remember them at this time and perhaps resolve to be better to them next year—although I doubt that we will be, given the burdens and demands that will fall upon us in an election year.

We do not know when an election will be, but this may well be the last opportunity to provide a valedictory before then, so I should note now that some distinguished members of my team will not be recontesting the next election: Alby Schultz, Jo Gash, Judi Moylan, Mal Washer, Sue Boyce and Ron Boswell. I see Russell Broadbent is on the list—I didn't know Russell was retiring. I don't think he is—I think I have been misinformed! What gremlin is in our system? And he should not retire—we need a strong and conscience-driven voice in the parliament and inside the coalition.

Mr Schultz: I rescind my resignation!

Mr ABBOTT: Well said, Alby!

Finally, this has been a year of ups and downs. It has been a year of ups and downs for most Australians. I am sure it has been a year of ups and downs for both sides of this parliament; 2012 has had its exhilarations and its frustrations. We must hope that 2013 will be a better year, because we always hope that every year will be better than its predecessor. I am sure that in one respect at least 2013 will be a better year than 2012—it will be an election year. None of us are in any way trying to avoid that. For all of us on this side, it could not come quick enough. We look forward to it very much.