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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4360

The PRESIDENT (15:04): Senators, as some of you may be aware, this morning marked the last occasion on which I will be ushered into the Senate by Brien Hallett, the Usher of the Black Rod. Brien joined the Senate department in January 2009 after undertaking senior roles in the Australian Electoral Commission and as Deputy Official Secretary to the Governor-General. He will shortly commence leave, pending his retirement prior to our resumption.

All of us have firsthand experience of Brien's courtesy and professionalism. He's often been the first point of contact for new senators—a somewhat busier job in the last 12 months than it was previously!—and he embodies the service ethos of the Senate department and the Black Rod's office, in particular. I've been particularly appreciative of his advice and support since I took this office last year.

Brien also led the Senate Committee Office in the previous parliament during an extended period of particularly high and intense committee activity. The capacity of the secretariats to cheerfully meet the Senate's requirements during that time is a credit to his leadership.

Senators should also be aware that part of the legacy Brien will leave behind will be found in two publications, There being no objection and I seek leave to continue my remarks, which bring to life, principally, in Brien's words, 'forgotten tales from the Australian Senate and the wider parliamentary world'.

I know we all think that all staff of the Senate, and particularly it's leadership, are important custodians of the traditions, mores and values of this place. They play a crucial role in assisting those of us elected to it to uphold and develop these as time goes on. I am sure that all senators will join me in thanking Brien for his exemplary service to the Senate and wishing him a long and leisurely retirement.

Honourable senators: Hear, hear!