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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10409

The PRESIDENT (23:01): I take this opportunity on the last sitting day for 2012 with the conclusion of a very busy parliamentary year to acknowledge and express my person gratitude to the following. Firstly, I thank the Clerk of the Senate, Rosemary Laing, for her outstanding professionalism and commitment to this very important institution in our democracy, the Australian Senate; the Deputy Clerk, Richard Pye; and all the senior officers of the Department of the Senate for their ongoing support and advice. I thank all senators, and I would like to make special note of the Deputy President and Chair of Committees, Senator Stephen Parry. I wish to once again acknowledge the excellent working relationship that we have established since the start of the Senate term, and I must say that I would be lost without the support that he has given. The mutual respect there is a wonderful thing indeed.

To the temporary chairs of committees, I thank them. I also wish to thank the Usher of the Black Rod, Brian Hallett; the Director of Senate Services, John Baczynski; Assistant Director Glenn Krause; and the staff of the Black Rod's Office. As I do every year, I make a special mention of, and I thank, Ian and Peter at the transport office, who continue to look after our transport needs so efficiently. And I extend my thanks to COMCAR drivers. I also wish to acknowledge the staff of the Clerk's Office, the Table Office, the Procedure Office and the Committee Office, and thank them for their hard work, dedication, patience and forbearance.

I thank the chamber support staff, in particular the chamber attendants and the mail attendants, and the staff of the Senate IT in 2020, who have assisted me on more than one occasion in getting the information and communication technology which we are provided with to work. I also thank the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services, Carol Mills, and her staff, most of whom work in the background providing the essential services that enable the parliament to function. In particular, I thank the ground staff and gardeners who make Parliament House such a showpiece for the nation and those who work in Security and in the Protective Services at Parliament House. I also thank the Health and Recreation Centre staff; the staff of HRG, who make our travel arrangements; the cleaners, who keep this place so immaculately clean and tidy; the staff of IHG and Aussies, who provide the coffee and food to all building occupants and visitors; the Parliamentary Library and Research Service under the direction of the Parliamentary Librarian, Dianne Heriot; and the International and Community Relations Office for their dedicated work with outgoing and incoming delegations and in managing our Interparliamentary Relations and International Parliamentary Assistance Program.

The Parliamentary Education Office do an extraordinary and very important job teaching young Australians about our parliament. In 2012 they taught more than 91,000 young Australians from 1,605 schools. I would like to thank the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and his staff, as well as the Clerk, Bernard Wright, and officers of the Department of the House of Representatives. I welcome the election of the new Speaker, Anna Burke, and the Deputy Speaker, Bruce Scott, and I look forward to working with them again in the new year.

I am especially grateful to the staff from my office here at Parliament House, as well as to my electorate staff in Queensland. I acknowledge and thank all the other people I have not mentioned personally who work in Parliament House and in electorate offices right around Australia. I extend from what I have written before me, to say that I note the dedication of the staff right across the senators and members in this place. Their dedication to their work is second to none, and I think sometimes that is overlooked in the work that goes on in Parliament House.

In conclusion, I extend my best wishes to all colleagues and staff for the upcoming festive season and I look forward to seeing everyone back here in 2013. I thank the Senate.