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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14991


Mr LEESER (Berowra) (10:39): Deputy Speaker Laundy, I start by acknowledging that this is your last day in the 45th parliament. Thank you for your friendship, support and wise counsel on all matters.

I want to use my last speech in this parliament to thank the people who have made my life a great joy in being here. I want to start by thanking my conference. We have the largest and most diverse Liberal Party conference in New South Wales. It's ably led by Matt Cross, Helen McNamee, Michael McAuley, Tom Green and Susan Carter. I also want to acknowledge the former office-bearers, Kate Golder and Brian Jepsen. Probably more than any other person, Brian Jepsen is responsible for me being a parliamentarian, and I owe Brian more than I will be able to repay. I want to acknowledge Pat McNamee, who ran my campaign in 2016 and who is backed up for a second stint, and also Maria Kovacic, who is assisting him.

I want to thank the staff who have served me. We are nothing as parliamentarians without our staff. I want to acknowledge Pip Englund, who headed up my office from the beginning until her family moved to Queensland at the end of last year. She did a magnificent job challenging me and encouraging me to be the best MP I could. Of Annette McHugh, who has come on board, she and I have been looking for many years for an opportunity to work together. She has great intellectual and emotional intelligence and an ability to look at old problems from new angles and never loses her enthusiasm for this place or the project we're trying to achieve. Daniel Dummer has been with me almost from the beginning. He served so many constituents. They've benefited from his advice and his hard work, and he's literally changed lives. Two Traceys have served as my EA: Tracey Shute and Tracey Barrowcliff. I pinch myself every day that such experienced, dedicated people have given up their time and choose to come and work with me. Annie Phillips has been running our media activities. She follows a long line of people that includes Dan Mumford, Gus McManus and Tom O'Brien, all of whom have gone on to bigger and better things in different fields.

I want to acknowledge other staff and interns that I've had. There are the highly talented, delightful and hardworking Anna Coote; Cain Noble Davies, who I met at Northcott disability services and who has crunched data for me week in, week out; Max Messenger; Leigh Gibbens; Carmen Maatouk; Josie Jacovac; Lucy Coote; Ashleigh Stirling—who's here in the chamber with me—Joe and Rachel Casey; Josh Bryant, who now works for the Minister for Home Affairs; Annika Reynolds; Jeremy Estrin; Bruce Watt; Joan Forno; Penny Becchio; Sylvia Pryor; Peter and Sue Reed; Sarah Nicholas; and Alexia Silver.

I want to acknowledge the policy interns I've had: Karla Nader, who was my rock during the free speech inquiry; Luca Madden, who assisted me with constitutional recognition; and Charlotte Officer and Sam Hurrell, two medical students who have done wonderful work on mental health policy.

Finally, I just want to thank my family: my wife's parents, Jen and Andrew Davidson, and their mums, Jean Lindsay and Margot Davidson, for their wonderful support; my mum, Sylvia Leeser, and her husband, Allan, without whom we couldn't do this; my wonderful wife, Joanna, who allows me to do this; and James, our son, who was born during this first term. He's too young to understand what this is about, but I hope he knows that everything I do in this place is for him and his generation.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Laundy ): I thank the member for his comments and his kind words at the start of his comments.