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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14800

Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (11:27): It is hard to believe that 2015 has come and almost gone. It has been another busy year which has had its ups and downs. We said goodbye to two members of our Tuesday lunch group, Don Randall and Alby Shultz. They will be missed enormously. I cannot let the year pass by without paying my thanks to those who work so hard behind the scenes, both here in Parliament House and back in the electorate of Solomon. I put on record my thanks to the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, to our whips and their fantastic staff, to the House of Representatives attendants and particularly to Leon, who will be turning 21 in a few weeks time. To the Clerk and the deputy clerks, to the cleaners in Parliament House, and also a special thanks to Hup, who cleans my electorate office. Thanks to the Parliamentary Services staff, to the House committee staff, to our security staff and of course to the Australian Federal Police who ensure our safety while we are here in Canberra.

Thanks also to the Comcar drivers. Our special thoughts go to Stewie on the passing of his partner, Annie, who was a legendary Comcar driver. Sadly she passed away a few weeks ago. To my colleagues here in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, thank you for your support and friendship. I hope you all enjoy spending time back in your electorates. Thanks also to my good friend former Prime Minister Tony Abbott—I offer my thanks for his service to our great country. I hope that he enjoys a well-earned break with Margie and their family over the break.

I look forward to working with our new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in what will be very exciting year. He is doing a great job. I am really pleased that he has already visited my electorate—it is a bit sad that the member for Capricornia is not here!—because my electorate is the best electorate in northern Australia. I expect that the Prime Minister, along with the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Mr Frydenberg, will pay many visits to my electorate.

I thank, in advance, those who serve the community in my electorate of Solomon—the staff of our local police, fire services, emergency services and hospitals. I also thank them for serving us for 365 days of the year. We need to spare a thought for those who will sacrifice their time over Christmas and the New Year to make sure that our community is safe.

I thank our Australian Defence Force personnel, who make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation. I would like especially to thank Brigadier Ryan and the 1st Brigade. It has been wonderful to work with Brigadier Ryan; he is a breath of fresh air. We do not thank our ADF often enough. This year we went over to Afghanistan and we saw the work that the ADF is doing over there. We need to pay tribute, too, to the families of ADF members, who are going to miss out on spending time with them. We will be thinking of the ADF members and their families during the festive season.

I would like to pay tribute to my staff: Mel, Jessie, Alex, Greg and Sarah, for the work that they have done. We have had a huge year and I look forward to 2016. I would also like to pay tribute to my husband—my very, very patient husband—and to my family. My husband said he likes it better when I am in Canberra because at least he knows that he can speak to me on the phone. When I am home I am out and about, doing everything. I will be home until February, so I am sure we will be able to have a bit of time off in the electorate between Christmas and the New Year.

I am looking forward to 2016. I think it is going to be a very exciting time. I hope that everyone stays safe. Remember not to drink and drive, and make sure that you drive safely and think about your neighbours. We want to see everyone return back to this parliament in 2016. Merry Christmas to members and their families from the people of Solomon.