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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4361

Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (15:08): by leave—I rise also to contribute some brief remarks to acknowledge the contribution of Brien Hallett to the Senate, to the public service and to the Australian people. You've served our nation diligently and efficiently for many years, although I confess that I have never got the spelling of your name completely right in my head! As Senator Cormann and the President have said, Brien is currently the Usher of the Black Rod for another month and a bit. Mr Hallett has always been helpful in assisting senators, particularly new senators, with a broad range of matters for which the office is the principal contact. I was reminded in estimates, I think earlier this year, that this was the third time that Mr Hallett was the Usher of the Black Rod.

Mr Hallett's interest in and knowledge of Senate practices and, dare I say it, eccentricities have obviously contributed to the publications that the President has described. As Senator Cormann has said, he served as clerk at the table in the Deputy Clerk's chair and more recently had the honour of serving in the Clerk's chair.

Mr Hallett garners much respect and affection from his colleagues and from senators in this place. He's regarded as a team player extraordinaire. He played an instrumental role in supporting colleagues through the establishment of the new departmental leadership team over the last 12 months. I'm also advised that he is a delightful MC at the Department of the Senate annual Christmas party and a regular and reliable supplier to his colleagues of eggs from his chooks.

Brien, I know you're looking forward to your retirement. I know you'll miss us—well, we hope so! We're probably likely to miss you more. On behalf of the Labor Party, thank you for all you have done not just in this role but in your previous roles. We all give you leave to continue your remarks.