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Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Page: 104

Senator EGGLESTON (7:41 PM) —I would like to make a few short remarks about John Tierney and wish him well in his career after the Senate. I have always found John to be a great gentleman and somebody who has always had a very sensible view on the issues that have come before us in the Senate. I believe he is somebody who has made a good contribution to the affairs of the Senate over a very broad and wide range of issues. He has, of course, had a special interest in education, and his contributions to the education and workplace relations committee have been very important. We have shared a common interest in information technology. As I heard tonight, when John came to the Senate he did not know a lot about communications and information technology. That was also my experience, but when I came here I was certainly very much taken with the potential of IT. As Sue Knowles observed, John Tierney told everybody about the coming information superhighway, and it certainly has been something which John has contributed to in a very important way.

If I may say so, unknown to other persons in the Senate there has been something of a quiet tension and battle between John Tierney and me over which port in Australia actually has the largest export tonnage—Newcastle or Port Hedland. I have delighted at times in telling John Tierney what the export tonnage for the port of Port Hedland has been over the year concerned, and I have even offered to have the Port Hedland Port Authority put him on their mailing list and send him their annual reports, which he ever so politely declined. From what I have heard, given the enormous purchases of iron ore which China is now undertaking, it may be that Port Hedland is drawing ahead of Newcastle in terms of tonnage. I think I will always remember John Tierney in terms of whether Newcastle or Port Hedland is the port with the largest export tonnage in Australia. As I said, John Tierney is somebody who has made, in my time, an excellent contribution to the affairs of the Senate, and I certainly wish him well in his new career.