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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 2203

Mr HAWKE (Prime Minister) —I move:

That the House, at its rising, adjourn until a date and hour to be fixed by Mr Speaker, or in the event of Mr Speaker being unavailable, by the Chairman of Committees, which time of meeting shall be notified to each member by telegram or letter.

I take this opportunity to record my appreciation of the contributions made by so many on both sides of this House to the notable achievements that have distinguished the Thirty-third Parliament. I recall that when I made some remarks at the rising of the Parliament last year I was able to congratulate the honourable member for Canberra (Mrs Kelly) on her achievement in making history by delivering the goods in a unique way. This year I can report that as a member of a very productive government she is about to do it again. We wish her well.

There have been some other significant developments in the parliamentary system during the last two years which will, I am sure, guarantee it a notable place in the history of this legislature. For example, there was the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform which undertook the most comprehensive review of the Commonwealth's electoral system for several decades.

Honourable members-Hear, hear!

Mr HAWKE —There seems to be a fairly wide degree of satisfaction with its work, Mr Speaker.

Mr Howard —I'll reserve judgment.

Mr HAWKE —The honourable member for Bennelong reserves judgment. The Joint Select Committee on Members' Interests renewed some of the recommendations made earlier both by the Riordan Joint Committee on Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament of 1975 and the Bowen Committee of Inquiry concerning Public Duty and Private Interest of 1979. The establishment of the Joint Select Committee on Video Material and the creation of the Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority to monitor and review the Authority's performance are also significant developments. Among the major reports produced by parliamentary committees I would single out the work of the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege which provides a firm basis for consideration of possible reforms in this area.

With the rising of this Parliament, Mr Speaker, we will see some of our number retiring. We shall miss them all. Ken Fry, currently in New York as parliamentary representative to the United Nations General Assembly, has been the member for Fraser since 1974. He is Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. Reflecting his own involvement with the South East Asian region dating back as far as World War II, he has taken a keen interest in Australia's relations with countries of that region.

Doug Everingham, the member for Capricornia since 1967, has had a distinguished career in this Parliament. He was Minister for Health in the Whitlam Government and has served on a variety of parliamentary committees, including the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, the Standing Orders Committee, the Standing Committee on Road Safety and the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.

Ray Groom has been the member for Braddon since 1975 and served as Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development between 1977 and 1978 and as Minister for Housing and Construction from 1978 to 1980. He is currently a member of the Standing Orders Committee and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Kevin Newman has been the member for Bass since 1975. In the period December 1975 to March 1983 he held a variety of ministerial appointments, including Minister for Repatriation, Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development, Minister for National Development, Minister for Productivity and Minister for Administrative Services.

Frank O'Keefe, the honourable member for Paterson, has been a member since 1969 , having served for eight years before that as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He is currently a member of the House Committee, the Library Committee and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. To all these members, each of whom has made a considerable and greatly appreciated contribution to the work of this House, we all extend our best wishes.

As I said last year, I strongly believe that the workings of this Parliament depend upon the services and dedication of very many people who, unlike those of us in the chamber, are not exposed to the public glare. In this regard I think it was most appropriate that this Parliament should have seen the first appointment of a woman to a senior position in the Department of the House of Representatives. I refer, of course, to the appointment of Mrs Lyn Simons as Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms, now Acting Serjeant-at-Arms. This appointment follows the appointment in the Department of the Senate of Miss Anne Lynch as Clerk Assistant (Procedure).

There are many people who have contributed to the smooth working of this House. I wish to thank you, particularly, Mr Speaker, for the manner in which you have conducted the proceedings of the House-which, if I may observe parenthetically, has not always been the easiest of tasks-together with your Deputy and Chairman of Committees, the honourable member for Henty (Mrs Child), whose appointment we were delighted to see as another breakthrough for women in the life of this Parliament. I congratulate you both on the very high standards of impartiality and judgment that have been set for the smooth and efficient running of this House. Indeed, the work of the Chairman of Committees and the deputies has been, as you acknowledge, Mr Speaker, quite vital to the successful legislative record of this Parliament.

But it has been the unheralded contribution of people such as the Clerk of the House, the Deputy Clerks, the Serjeant-at-Arms, the parliamentary officers, the Table Office and the attendants which has also been quite crucial to the smooth and effective exercise of our responsibilities in this House. We thank all of them most sincerely. We also owe our thanks to the Parliamentary Counsel and to the Principal Parliamentary Reporter and the Hansard staff, each of whom has made a notable high quality contribution. You, Mr Speaker, referred earlier to, and others have also spoken of, the retirement later this year of the Principal Parliamentary Reporter, Mr Jim Roberts. We wish him well.

We also owe a debt to the Parliamentary Librarian and his staff for their invaluable service to all honourable members. The manner in which they have been able to respond to our onerous and not always, apparently, reasonable requests has not only been impressive; it has been something many of us have come to depend upon.

I cannot conclude my list of thanks without looking heavenwards-at least not quite to heaven; half way there, which may be purgatory, perhaps-and referring to the members of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. I suppose our assessment of their contribution varies from day to day as we put our interpretations upon their contributions. The fact that my office is going to inflict a massive defeat upon the Press next Sunday in our annual cricket match is not to be taken as any adverse assessment of their work. We thank the Press for their invaluable contribution. If they were not there no one would know just how good we are. When I say 'how good we are', I mean that in a bipartisan sense across the House. While on the area of communication, we also extend our thanks to the broadcasting team of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Finally, I express our appreciation for the work of the Secretary of the Joint House Department and his staff, including all those involved in catering, transport and other crucial services on which we all depend on a day to day basis. I think it goes without saying that the Leader of the House, the honourable member for Port Adelaide, Mr Young, and those who have acted on his behalf, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Bowen, and the Minister for Finance, Mr Dawkins, have also in their usual way succeeded in carrying forward the business of the House speedily and effectively. Without doubt they have been assisted in that task by the Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Leigh Powell. I say quite directly that they have benefited also from the co-operation of the Manager of the Opposition Business, the right honourable member for New England, Mr Sinclair. Of course, the Whips, their deputies and their staffs have played a crucial role in keeping the numbers together and in directing the debates. To all of them, and indeed to everyone who has made this both a happy and successful Parliament, our thanks are extended.

Because of the sudden and unexpected manner in which Parliaments have often been dissolved and elections called in this country over the last ten years, there have been very few occasions on which members have had an opportunity to make valedictory remarks at the rising of the Parliament. If I may be excused, in that regard I recall in particular with some satisfaction the events of February 1983. As we embark on an election campaign I wish all honourable members well-again I hope honourable members will excuse me if I say particularly those on my side. I look forward to assembling here with members of my Government-I will not go into the question of numbers-next year. Putting aside all partisan considerations, as we will not be meeting again in this Parliament before the Christmas and New Year period, I take this opportunity, not only personally but also I believe on behalf of the Government, of extending to all honourable members and their families best wishes for the Christmas period of 1984 and for the new year 1985.