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Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Page: 11663


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (21:30): I rise to congratulate you, Madam Speaker, on your election. You and I know each other well—we have known each other for if not a whole lifetime at least half a lifetime, coming into this parliament after the same election and knowing each other for a large number of years before that. You have always been a very hardworking, very focused and very diligent member of this parliament—someone who could teach a large number of others about what it means to be a servant of your constituency. You have always been a very feisty advocate of your part of the world, and I have had the pleasure of visiting your electorate with you on a number of occasions and seeing how appreciated your efforts there are.

You are also someone who made a deliberate decision to specialise in the work of this parliament. Some come to this parliament with their eye set on the executive; some come to this parliament fully appreciating the roles and opportunities that parliament can give. You came to this parliament with capacities to address many of the opportunities that being in parliament, being in opposition and being in government can bring, but you did make a deliberate decision during your career to focus on what it is to be a parliamentarian and what it is to be a servant of this parliament. So, with some twists and turns along the way, that has led you to tonight and to your election. I congratulate you on your election. I know your family, glued to ABC News 24, will be absolutely delighted. I have had the opportunity to meet with your family on more than one occasion and their pride in you is palpable. I am sure that pride is absolutely running over tonight.

As recently as this morning I spoke at a women's breakfast about women's roles in parliament and women's roles in leadership. I spoke about the trailblazing role of Joan Child in this parliament, being the first woman to serve as Speaker. It is fitting indeed that 26 years later we are here welcoming another woman as Speaker of this parliament. For other women and girls who may be looking at this place and thinking about what could potentially be their role within it, your election to the speakership today provides another role model for them. My personal congratulations go to you—my congratulations as Prime Minister and my congratulations as federal Labor leader. We will do everything we can to work with you. I cannot quite make that a guarantee of the best of behaviour on all occasions but I promise you we will be trying and respecting your office and your rulings and your efforts as Speaker.