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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 8134

Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (6:51 AM) —I seek leave for valedictory statements, and for those statements that would have been made in the adjournment debate, to be made at this time.

Leave granted.

Senator IAN CAMPBELL —I thank colleagues for granting that leave. I want to say a few thank yous at the end of what has been a very busy and historic session. Mr Deputy President, I firstly want to thank you for the role you have played in your first session in that position. I think the President and you have already created a strong team in the presidency and deputy presidency and are working well. I also thank the number of people who made this very important democratic chamber work in an effective, efficient and generally very collegiate and convivial manner over, as I have said, a very busy, historic and in many ways productive session.

There are many people who work behind the scenes in this place who get very little recognition. I know that most people who work in this place get incredible personal satisfaction out of serving their nation and serving this, one of the great democratic institutions of the planet, and I do know they do not necessarily feel that they need recognition for it. But they do deserve recognition.

Firstly, I thank my own team within the Manager of Government Business office and circle. I thank Scott Faragher, who is my adviser. He does a great job in his role. Myra Croke, the Parliamentary Liaison Officer, is the significant cog in this machine. There are lots of cogs that can be replaced, but the PLO is the one cog that cannot be replaced. Myra has done an extraordinary job, as usual, and I thank her for her fantastic support of me, the government and the Senate.

I would like to thank our great team in the Senate Table Office—Rosemary, Angie and Alison—who continue to do a superb job in supporting very urgent calls for paperwork, providing rapid responses and advice at short notice. Most importantly, they ensure that the Senate continues to operate like a well-oiled machine, ensuring that we get through enormous amounts of government business, of opposition business, of minor party business and that, basically, everyone gets a go and the place does operate.

I thank my leader, Robert Hill. We have had the pleasure of working together for just over six years now, and the government has racked up some significant achievements in that time. The close relationship between his office and my office is crucial to that, and I pay particular thanks to Senator Hill's staff and to Matt Brown and Warwick Bracken, who are a continual source of sound advice and a conduit to a minister who is very busy in a very important portfolio.

I give particular thanks to the Manager of Opposition Business, who has just come into that role post the election, Senator Joseph Ludwig, and his staff. Senator Ludwig has made a tremendously rapid move into a very important role, and can I say it is a pleasure working with him. He is a true professional who makes a strong contribution to the workings of the Senate. While I am talking about members from other parties, I thank all the leaders and whips, who have to seek to find consensus and compromise to ensure that the incredibly heavy program that the Senate has to deal with is managed in an effective and successful manner. It is a place where there is always a lot of stress, because everyone has an agenda that they need to get up and issues that they want to raise. I think that just about all of the 76 senators in this place have different agendas, different things they believe are incredibly important to them and to the nation.

The great thing about the Senate as a political clearing house and a clearing house for ideas is that in this place, which is a wee bit smaller than the other place, there is significant tolerance even though there is stress and creative tension. We were able to have very enlightened debate in this session in relation to human cloning and research involving human embryos. These are issues on which people in this chamber held incredibly strong personal views, and this was the debate during which the most stress was put on the relationships in this place, but we still came through; we still got a result. It was a result that some people—I look at Senator Boswell—were not happy with, but ultimately we got through it. It was a well-informed debate of far higher quality than the debate in the other place—though I would say that—and I think the Senate shone through that. We have had a few times like that.

I extend my thanks to the whips as well. I have mentioned the leaders and whips, but Senator Ferris, my colleague Senator Eggleston from WA and Senator Sue Mackay and her team in the Australian Labor Party have to do a very important job.

Senator Mackay —We run it.

Senator IAN CAMPBELL —That is right. If the whips were not successful then the place would not work. I thank all of the clerks and the Senate staff. I would also like to thank the attendants in particular, including Lorna and Kathy, for the work they do for us. I have said to Lorna on occasions that it would be nice if the stuff they put in our glasses was something stronger. So, Lorna, we might share one of those later. I also thank all of the other hidden staff around the place. I think we are all very lucky to work here. I thank all of the staff who make Parliament House tick, including the car drivers, who do a great job. The other people who hardly ever get mentioned are the gardeners. I came here when Parliament House was only two years old and all of the trees were pretty small. They have all got pretty big now, which is making me feel older as well. The gardeners have really done wonderfully in and around Parliament House. The gardeners should accept our gratitude and be very proud of the work they have done in nurturing and improving the environs of this place.

I thank all of my colleagues from both sides of the house. On behalf of all senators, and on my own behalf, I also thank all of the families who have to put up with the stupid lifestyles that we lead, being away for them so long. They make the ultimate sacrifice. I am sure that all of us here enjoy our jobs and get enormous personal satisfaction out of them, but the people who make the true sacrifices are those who are left many miles behind. Can I wish all of you who have made this place tick and helped me in my job as Manager of Government Business a very merry, safe and healthy Christmas. I genuinely look forward to seeing you back here, but not before February next year.