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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 4023

Mr SINCLAIR (Manager of Opposition Business)(4.44) —In opening, I should say that the stamina of the Leader of the House (Mr Young) amazes me. I am told that he was in great form at about 8 o'clock this morning, having been in even better form a couple of hours earlier. On behalf of my colleagues in the National Party of Australia and others on this side of the House, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Howard) and I share in the general wishes of good will that have been extended by the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and the Leader of the House. As the Leader of the House noted, perhaps many honourable members are more notable by their absence than there presence at this time. It has been, to say the least, an interesting session and I think your guidance over the affairs of this somewhat unruly chamber at times, Madam Speaker, and that of your Deputy and indeed all those responsible for our guidance, have been such that we appreciate your services and now wish you well during the well earned respite for which you are about to depart.

Of course, there are many in this chamber and around it to whom we owe a debt. There is little doubt that thanks should go to the Clerks, the Hansard writers, the people in the Parliamentary dining rooms, the people in the Joint House Department and, perhaps above all those whom I particularly wanted to mention, John May and his staff. This afternoon they have done a sterling job. There is no doubt that without their assistance many of those who have departed this place may well have had to put up a tent on the lawns of Parliament House.

Madam SPEAKER —Some of us still might.

Mr SINCLAIR —Madam Speaker, I share your concern. That is one of the problems about the transport arrangements. John May, together with Paul and Brian, have done a tremendous job. We owe them a debt and I would like to compliment them. One other whose name has not been mentioned is John Engledow.

Mr Hawke —I mentioned him.

Mr SINCLAIR —I beg your pardon, Prime Minister. The Parliamentary Liaison Officer is somebody on whom we can all rely. His is a difficult task. He works, of course, in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I think we also owe him a debt of gratitude.

Each of the three former speakers mentioned our staffs. Without doubt they are the core of everything that is done in this place and to them I would certainly also like to extend my thanks. Beyond that there are many of our families, both male and female, to whom we also owe a debt. Parliamentarians have an extraordinary life. It is not easy to be at home with them and do all those normal things that one might do. To hear that the Government Whip's daughter is to be married tomorrow illustrates one of the difficulties-how hard it is for us to spend time with them before those events. As all honourable members of this House would, I wish her and her future husband well. I think that we might also extend our thanks to our respective spouses for the jobs they have done and for our long-suffering families, many of whom I think suffer far more than we do for the occasions when we perhaps launch into each other on matters that they take very much to heart.

Madam Speaker, to you and to all I extend my wishes for a very happy Christmas. Let us hope that 1987 sees some recovery in a national economy that for many, sadly, is going to lead to this Christmas being nowhere as promising as it otherwise might be.

Madam SPEAKER —Could I just thank my personal staff. I left them out. Without them, I do not think I would have got through the year.

Question resolved in the affirmative.