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Friday, 28 June 2013
Page: 4509

Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate and Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (15:17): I move:

That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the end of the sitting today to the day on which the Senate next meets.

Question agreed to.

Senator WONG: I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

Senator WONG: I want to make some brief comments in the time remaining. Senator Abetz has a plane to catch, and I have promised him that he will catch it. If we are going to be on the other side of the table from each other, then I had probably better deliver on that deal. We have had a number of valedictories and I do not propose to re-traverse the very lengthy, humorous and, at times, heartfelt contributions, but I do want to acknowledge Senator Crossin, Senator Humphries and Senator Joyce.

Senator Crossin was in the Senate when I first arrived. She was a progressive woman and I looked to her for advice and some mentoring. I really appreciate what she has done for me in that regard. I also knowledge her enormous contribution and knowledge when it comes to Indigenous affairs. Senator Humphries's sometimes quiet manner belied the rapier-like nature of his questioning. He was a worthy opponent, and I wish him well. Senator Joyce and I have had one of the more interesting relationships in this place, and I have to say that it is with mixed views that I regard his leaving the chamber. I wish him all the very best.

With the Senate's indulgence, I will make a couple of very brief comments about Senator Conroy and Senator Ludwig. As I said before, Senator Conroy is a man of great Labor heart and a very worthy leader of the government in the Senate, and I wish him well. I am pleased that he is continuing to serve. Senator Ludwig is a friend who has always been fantastic. He is someone who has given me great advice. He is a very honourable man, and I acknowledge his service on the frontbench.

On behalf of all senators, given that we are going into a really lengthy rise, I just acknowledge the contribution of all senators, the clerks and all Senate staff and in particular recognise Senator McEwen and Senator Jacinta Collins for their contribution from the government side. Thank you.