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Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Page: 1488

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (1:57 PM) —I want to talk briefly about Senator Ray. He is in fact going on to enjoy another career, a career in retirement, but I am sure his advice and assistance will still be forthcoming if one should be game to ring up and ask for it or see him in the street and similarly inquire. I want to personally thank him for what Senator Lundy has described as mentoring but also for the advice and assistance that he has given, not only to me personally but to others, on the type of work that we undertake in the Senate.

The work Senator Ray has done in supporting other senators in this place, by and large, goes unseen. This is an opportunity for commenting on the work he has done consistently and for a long time behind the scenes, not only in supporting new senators but in supporting those senators who are at the skinny end of their contribution to this place with respect to how they will fare when they leave. He also supported senators in opposition when times were a little bleak, if I could use that expression, post 2001. Of course, with every intake of new senators, Senator Robert Ray would be there to assist in providing support, assistance and help and to lend an ear to those people who wanted assistance.

Senator Ray would not suffer very easily those who would ask a question when the answer was clearly obvious. In those instances, before I would approach Senator Ray and ask him for advice, I would ponder long and hard the question that I was going to ask and whether I had explored all the possible avenues, because if I had missed the obvious then I would clearly suffer his wrath and very sharp humour and wit. The other work he did in this place included parliamentary work on a range of committees to support not only the Senate but Labor, along with the advice and assistance he gave to the whole of the chamber. With those short words, I wish him well in retirement and from a personal perspective thank him for the assistance he has provided me.