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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10412

Senator JOYCE (QueenslandLeader of The Nationals in the Senate) (23:16): It is always the art form of the valedictory speech to find someone that the other person has not thanked, and by thanking them to trump them. So I would like to thank the security people, who I think have done a splendid job. No-one has been assassinated this year, and it is not from want of trying. I also thank the maintenance men.

In all seriousness, starting with you, Mr President, thank you very much. I concur with the remarks of Senator Evans that if the Australian public only knew that in the vast majority of times when we are off this political football field we all get along in quite a civil manner. The Australian people should be aware of the fact that, once we walk out the door, people treat people with dignity. This is the political football paddock and out there is civvy street, and we know the difference between the two.

I thank the attendants for the wonderful work they have done. I thank Ian and Peter at the shuttle for allowing my car to stay when they should have told it to go. I thank my colleagues Senator Abetz and Senator Brandis—you have done a spectacular job. I have already acknowledged Senator Evans, who has occupied his post with dignity. I thank Senator Milne for the work she has done as leader of her party. I thank Senator Xenophon, Senator Madigan and the whips, Wacka, Helen, Ann and Rachel, who keep us all in line—the polar attraction of dignity. I thank the deputies—one just walked in: where were you? We will talk about that later on. I also acknowledge people that Senator Abetz has acknowledged—people we never see, such as the Reverend Peter Rose, for the marvellous work he does behind the scenes for those who are under the pump a bit and need someone to have a yarn to. In my own particular way, as someone who lives so remotely, I thank squadron 34: so often when I cannot get home the professionalism of that group is absolutely impeccable, and if it were not for them there would be times when I would not see my family for months.

Thanks to everybody else, and to the most important group in this parliament that we do not see: the families who put up with this rather peculiar and chaotic life that we life. I do not know how they do it. To my—and everybody else's—ever-suffering family, whatever form they are in, thank you very much. To everybody, merry Christmas and God bless.