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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 13841

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (16:38): I hope not to detain the House for long, but it is important to thank and acknowledge some of the people who have made this a good year. I was given a list of the people I needed to thank, and the first person on the list is the Speaker—and it says 'Harry Jenkins'. He is not the Speaker anymore. He has had a good year, even if he might have had a bad day today. We do remember his work in the chair with gratitude, affection and respect. He will be able to go home to his family this Christmas with his head held high. He has had a good year. I thank you, Mr Speaker, for your work. I thank your Deputy Speaker, the member for Maranoa, and I thank the Speaker's panel.

I thank the clerks, led by Bernard Wright. Bernard is probably the truest and most conscientious custodian of the best traditions of this House. I thank the Deputy Clerk, David Elder; the clerks at the table, Robyn and Joanne; and the serjeant, Claressa. I thank the attendants, who help to keep order in this place, led by Cheryl Lane. I thank the Department of Parliamentary Services, from Secretary Alan Thompson down, and all of those whom we deal with day by day who help to make our days convenient, safe and pleasant—whether it be the attendants, whether it be the Comcar drivers or whether it be the people who clean our offices. They have our gratitude even if we do not stop often enough each day to say so.

I thank my whips, led ably by Warren Entsch and supported by Pat Secker, Nola Marino, Mark Coulton and Paul Neville. It is very difficult to keep up the spirits of a parliamentary party—but, Warren, you are a party man in every sense of the word. You have kept our spirits up this year. I am very lucky to have such marvellous support from my senior parliamentary colleagues, from Julie Bishop and from Warren Truss. I could not ask for a better deputy and for a more supportive coalition partner. I thank and appreciate the Manager of Opposition Business, Christopher Pyne. I pay a particular tribute to my own personal staff, who are extraordinarily hardworking, extraordinarily dedicated and awesomely competent, led by Peta Credlin.

Above all else, and I am sure I speak for every member of this parliament, I thank my family. We all should thank our families. We are volunteers; they are conscripts. We can only stay in public life because of their forbearance while they allow us to do what we do—and I hope, as they look at us, at least some of the time they can be proud of us.

I will not pretend that this has been a great year for the parliament. I do not believe that it has been. Nevertheless, if we could take off our parliamentary hat, take off our partisan hat—

Mr Perrett interjecting

Mr ABBOTT: and yes, in the case of my friend on the other side, our particular rugby league hats—as one human being to the human beings opposite I say: may hostilities momentarily cease and may compliments of the season go to them. May God bless us, may God bless this parliament, may God bless our country and, finally, may I pause to acknowledge brave Australian soldiers killed and wounded this year in the war in Afghanistan.