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Monday, 6 December 1999
Page: 12884

Mr MURPHY (9:38 PM) —Once again I would like to take the opportunity here in the House tonight to salute the member for Denison, Duncan Kerr. Quite plainly, the government have red faces—of a hue a bit like the member for Mackellar's outfit tonight. The government have very red faces over this and the member for Denison has given a very erudite speech in the chamber to persuade the government in relation to these amendments, and that is a very good thing. It was only after Duncan Kerr went public with the criticisms of the government's decision that they indicated their preparedness to entertain the appropriate amendments. I think the government amendments very much mirror the amendments that Duncan Kerr talked about from the outset. This would not have happened if the opposition had not forced the issue.

I spoke about that a little while ago in the House and, as I said, in all innocence the member for Hughes responded to her advisers and, in fact, misrepresented the history of the communication between Duncan Kerr's office and Senator Vanstone's office. But it is good when we can have a vigorous debate in the chamber, and I must say that the winner on this one was Duncan Kerr. He was very convincing from the outset of this debate and, to the government's credit—and I will say it again for the member for Fisher, who is listening—they have come around. I will bring a little human dimension to this because this place is not a bad one. Many of us on this side of the House have friends on the other side of the House and some of those friendships are probably stronger than the ones we have with the members who sit around us over here. A little note from the member for Hughes was delivered to my office after I made that speech and it said:

To dear John Murphy, Member for Lowe.

A feast John, to your personal contribution in making this place a House of professional civility and style in face of the great partisan divide.

May you linger longer here, and enjoy love, laughter and many long-time friends.

Bob and Danna Vale.

P.S. We enjoyed your lovely comments in the Crimes at Sea Bill this evening. Happy Christmas.

I now salute Bob and Danna Vale because they are obviously very nice people and it is good that we can get along with one another.

Mr Slipper —She had a magnificent result in the election.

Mr MURPHY —She is a great grassroots local member. But the piece de resistance is that, along with this lovely note from Bob and Danna Vale, there was a bottle of Pioneers Rest, and it looks a pretty good drop. I think maybe we are going to have to drink that here this evening. I hope so because, often, when we are sitting here late at night, one tends to need a good glass of red wine to send one to sleep after we go.

In concluding, I again salute Duncan Kerr for the great job he has done on this; I congratulate the government and the member for Fisher for seeing the light; and I thank Bob and Danna Vale for their lovely gesture and may this sort of thing continue. When we work together and we get along, obviously that is what the people who vote for us, whatever side of the House they support, expect of their parliamentarians—that we get along together in the interests of our constituents and in the public and the national interest. I think the debate on this crimes at sea legislation has once again demonstrated that the opposition can work with the government and that the government can work with the opposition. I just hope Duncan Kerr continues to do the same sort of job as he did in the House tonight.

Mr Slipper —Are you getting paid by the word?

Mr MURPHY —No, I am not getting paid by the word. You are not a bad bloke, too. (Time expired)