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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6600

Mr ABBOTT (Leader of the Opposition) (3:25 PM) —On indulgence in a similar spirit, Mr Speaker, may I rise and, on behalf of the opposition, acknowledge the contribution of the member for Melbourne and Minister for Finance and Deregulation. He has been a well-respected minister in the government and he has been a worthy opponent. Can I also acknowledge the comments that he has made about his family and his desire to be restored to them. This life is very difficult on families. Our families deserve us as well as our constituents but they do not see us as much as they should. I think families are the unsung heroes of politics and sooner or later all of us should return to them. So I pay tribute to the member for Melbourne and minister for finance for his decision. I suspect that there are political families all around this country who are wishing their family member in this place would do likewise and follow the example of the member for Melbourne.

Government member interjecting—

Mr ABBOTT —Don’t encourage my wife or she might be on the phone! May I also pay tribute to the work that the minister has done thus far in the current government. I think to be, as minister for finance, the guardian of fiscal rectitude must have been very difficult indeed in this government, which has, as we know, presided over a significant change in the fiscal position of the Commonwealth. The member for Melbourne and minister for finance has been, as all of us would expect and understand, a hard political player. That is the role which is inevitably thrust upon most of us here. But he has been, in my opinion and in the opinion of most of us on this side of parliament, a man of honour within the restraints that politics imposes upon us, and I suspect he must be disappointed in some way with the events of the last 24 hours. But, that said, when he says that the events of the last 24 hours had nothing to do with his decision we believe him. I am sure there is no sense of reluctance to continue serving, and I do believe that this place will be the poorer for his absence.