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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10411

Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (23:10): As the Senate considers adjourning for the Christmas break, it is appropriate to reflect on what we are actually celebrating. Christmas is an integral part of our nation's heritage and ethos, built as it is on the Christian ethic of forgiveness, reconciliation and goodwill. The Christmas break is a time for spiritual, physical and personal renewal.

On behalf of my colleagues in the coalition, I thank all staff who make this place operate as smoothly as it does. I also thank somebody who has not been mentioned, and that is the Reverend Peter Rose, who is the parliamentary Christian fellowship chaplain, for the work that he does amongst all the parliamentarians.

I thank especially my colleagues for the privilege they have given me to allow me to serve them as their leader. I also thank my deputy leader, George Brandis, for the fantastic work that he does; the Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, and our Nationals colleagues; the whip, Helen Kroger; Mitch Fifield, the Manager of Opposition Business; and all my colleagues.

On behalf of the coalition, I also thank our families and close, significant others. We are the volunteers; they are the conscripts, and they often have to put up with a lot as a result of our behaviours, our decisions or what other colleagues might say about us from time to time. We could not do our jobs without their support. On behalf of the coalition, I say thank you to political spouses and children.

It has been an immense privilege to serve under the leadership of Tony Abbott for the past 12 months. In short, on behalf of the coalition, I wish all senators, Senate staff and our individual staff a blessed Christmas, and God bless.