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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4360

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (15:06): by leave—Mr President, I rise to make some brief remarks on your statement on behalf of the government. With hindsight, it is possible to see each step in Mr Hallett's career as preparation for his time in the Department of the Senate and his eventual elevation to the job of Usher of the Black Rod. Graduating from the University of Melbourne, he became a high school English teacher in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Some may argue that his firm grounding in Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies left him well prepared for the drama of the Senate chamber from time to time. Similarly, his degree in journalism no doubt proved useful when dealing with the press gallery, which from time to time is known to invade areas that they shouldn't. Mr Hallett also worked in the media and public affairs areas of the Australian Electoral Commission, which is part of my broader portfolio. Later, a stint as Deputy Official Secretary to the Governor-General offered him a unique insight into our nation's political process and ceremonial matters more broadly.

Outside of this place, Mr Hallett's ongoing service as treasurer of the Michelago Rural Fire Brigade—I am from a humble non-English speaking background, so I am very sorry if I inappropriately pronounced this—in his local community speaks to a man with a genuine concern for his community. It also suggests that he has experienced putting out more than just the spot fires that can occasionally spring up on the Senate floor.

In addition to serving as Usher of the Black Rod, Mr Hallett has also run the Senate Committee Office and served as a clerk at the table, graduating to the right-hand chair just last year—a rare honour. I see him nodding. I note that you are nodding because, as is often observed, Hansard cannot pick up a nod.

On behalf of the Senate, and on behalf of the government, I thank Mr Hallett for his distinguished service to the Australian parliament and, in particular, the Senate and wish him all the best in his retirement.

Honourable senators: Hear, hear!