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Friday, 25 November 2011
Page: 9717

Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (16:58): by leave—As we enter the festive season and look to the occasion we celebrate—the birth of Christ—and the new year, as we stop to reconnect with our loved ones, it is good to thank those who have assisted us. Mr President, without you there would be complete chaos. To the Leader of the Government in the Senate, thank you for your professionalism and cooperation—on most occasions! To the clerks, we would be lost without you. One question I do have is: why do you always have to be right? To the Black Rod, the Table Office, the committees, Hansard, the library, Broadcasting, the attendants, the drivers, the cleaners, to all—thank you for what you do to make this place work.

To the listeners of parliamentary broadcasts, we hope that the PBS and you save money on sleeping-pill prescriptions. To reporters and journalists, we wish you a happy new year and hope that you might be able to report more favourably upon us in the future. To the managers and whips of all parties, I thank you for the way you work so professionally to ensure that this place operates as it should. From time to time during question time, as I look across the chamber, my heart goes out to Senator McLucas, with her health issues, as it does when I look behind me and see Senator Judith Adams or when I look across and see Senator Fisher. Their strength and stoicism in difficult circumstances have been truly inspirational.

To my deputy leader, Senator George Brandis, and to the Leader of the Nationals, Barnaby Joyce: thank you for your coopera­tion and esprit de corps. As a coalition I believe we work exceptionally well. To all my colleagues I say thank you for giving me the privilege of being your leader in this place. It is a privilege to serve as leader of such a great bunch of men and women. I thank our spouses and families for their wonderful support. My wish is that the true spirit of Christmas will be visited upon all of us, with health and happiness for 2012, and God bless.