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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2394


Senator HARRADINE(11.32) —I rise to pay tribute to Mr Roberts and, through him, to his Hansard staff. Life was not meant to be easy for the Hansard staff and life was not meant to be easy for independents in this place, but the confidence that we have in Hansard came very much into focus for me when I had a stack of 'pinks' on my table today and I took one look at them, screwed them up and put them in the bin. That was not because what I had said today was of no value or of no use; It was my realisation that those 'pinks' represented precisely what I had said, given the editorial alterations that no doubt would have been made by Hansard staff to improve the speeches.

How anyone can stay in this place, particularly in the House of Representatives , for 27 years and retain his sanity is beyond me. Obviously Mr Roberts, having started his job 27 years ago as a Hansard reporter in this place and in the House of Representatives, has done just that. I wondered what was the secret of sanity. Clearly that quality is possessed by Mr Roberts. It is also possessed by you, Mr President. So my conslusion is that if one wants to retain one's sanity one should opt for the profession of court reporter in the first instance and learn about the vagaries of life by recording them. Once one has done that obviously one has a firm basis for a sane and balanced approach to life. Perhaps that is Mr Roberts's secret, because his job has not been an easy one. His job has been most difficult. It may have been made even more difficult by decisions that we have taken over the last 12 months, 18 months or whatever when we changed the times of the sittings. A great deal of pressure has been put on the Hansard staff as a result. I have tried to do my best for Hansard by objecting every time a motion has been put forward in this place for committees to meet at the same time as the Parliament is meeting-I ask Mr Roberts to note that-because that extends the difficulties of the Hansard staff. I think we have to bear that in mind in the future when we are considering those aspects. I wish Jim and his wife a very happy retirement and I simply say thanks to him.