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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 1

The PRESIDENT (12:31 PM) —I would like to advise senators that Mr Brien Hallett has been appointed as the new Usher of the Black Rod. Brien has come to the Department of the Senate from Government House, where he held the position of Deputy Official Secretary. I have no doubt that Brien will live up to the high standard set by previous holders of this important position. I am sure all senators will join me in welcoming Brien and wishing him all the best in his new role.

Senators will also note that a digital readout has been added to the debate timing clocks in the chamber. This is a trial to see whether this facility assists senators in managing their contributions in this place. I would appreciate comments from senators as to whether they think that this should be made a permanent feature of the chamber.

The Department of Parliamentary Services have advised that one of the three main air-conditioning units is not currently operating. Consequently, senators and staff may notice an increase in the air temperature until the system is repaired. DPS are working to repair the fault and it is expected that the unit will be returned to service later on Wednesday.

I also advise senators that the Black Rod’s office has arranged for some artefacts, including the old Presidential wig, gown and lace, to be handed over to Old Parliament House on long-term loan for use in their collection and displays—without the President attached!