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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2352

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia) (1.14 a.m.) —Normally on valedictories we come into this Senate and we wish each other well and wish the retiring member all the best. Senator Richardson has made it a bit hard for me tonight because the first 15 minutes of his 30-minute speech was spent attacking the opposition, and that is not in the tradition of a valedictory speech. And so I am finding it hard to reach out and offer the spirit of reconciliation that normally goes on in these nights.

  But Graham Richardson is leaving the Senate tonight. He is one of the class of `83, which is when I came in. I am 10 years older than Graham. The guard is already changing now. When I came into the Senate, there were five Labor state governments. One by one, those governments have fallen. Now there are five Liberal and National or coalition governments. There is the federal Labor government left. I believe in competition in everything. Whether it is in selling paintbrushes, as I used to do, or in politics, which is another form of selling, one has to be good enough to win. I am going to dedicate myself to making the last remaining bastion of the Labor Party, the federal government, follow those five state governments that have fallen.

  I am not going to be churlish tonight. I am going to wish Graham Richardson and his wife the best. I am going to wish them a prosperous new career. Senator Richardson won at all costs but he left behind him an horrific cost to human society in the wet tropics debate. People are hurting. They are still hurting out there. He won, but he left a lot of hurt people out there.

Senator Collins —He left a lot of rainforest too, Ron.

Senator BOSWELL —I do not want to get into that debate. The rainforests were there for 100 years. They had been logged and they would continue to be logged. I have always believed that winners are grinners and losers please themselves. So I say to Senator Richardson, `Your mates in the government are going to miss you a lot more than we are'. I think the wheels are falling off the little red cart. However, Senator Richardson is leaving tonight and he leaves with my best wishes. I hope he enjoys his family life. I hope he is successful in business. I think he has given us an opportunity to get just that little bit extra on the Labor Party.