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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 8135

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (7:02 AM) —On behalf of the President, who at this stage would normally make valedictory remarks—as the Senate is aware, the President has had to return to his home state for family reasons early this morning—I seek leave to incorporate the President's valedictory speech.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

As we end the Parliamentary sittings for 2002, I place on record my appreciation for the work of the Clerk of the Senate, Mr Evans, the other Clerks at the Table, Black Rod, and all the other officers of the Senate for their assistance and support throughout the year.

I particularly thank the Chamber attendants, and the staff of the Table Office during sitting days for always being ready to respond to the needs of Senators as they arise.

Thanks are due to the hard-working staff of the Senate Committee Office, Black Rod's office, the Parliamentary Education Office and the Procedure Office.

I thank Mr John Templeton and the staff of the Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff for producing accurate records of debate in this Chamber, both in the printed and electronic Hansard, and on film.

I thank the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation under the Supervisor, Mr Terry Malcolm, for their work in broadcasting the proceedings of the Senate this year.

Mr Mike Bolton and his staff in the Joint House Department also deserve our thanks. They ensure that this enormous building, which is a village populated by several thousand people on the average sitting day, functions effectively.

During this year we have regrettably been faced with new realities about security, and a consequence is that new procedures must be adopted at Parliament House and the Parliamentary precincts.

This has been done efficiently, and I am grateful for the forbearance of all occupants of, and visitors to, Parliament House. I know that everyone understands the need for enhanced security systems.

It is a steep learning curve to take up the presidency but since being elected in August I have appreciated the support I have received from all honourable senators. Every day I think is a privilege to serve the Australian people as a senator in this place and I know that none of us takes those responsibilities lightly.

I like to think that our chamber is—usually—a more civil place than some other places are, and that there is more genuine respect across the chamber among all senators.

This evening I want to pay special tribute to the Deputy President and Chairman of Committees, Senator John Hogg. He is a pleasure to work with, and he is the most reliable colleague. On a personal note, I have particularly appreciated his assistance to me this week.

I wish all senators, and their families, a very happy and safe Christmas and a restful vacation.