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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14673

Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (13:24): At this time of year, let me share a few brief remarks. I begin by thanking those who make this place work, and foremost amongst those are the cleaners of Parliament House. We could not function without the cleaners of Parliament House. They do remarkable work in the middle of the night when we are all at home sleeping. We leave the building in a less than pristine condition every night; we return in the morning to see it looking wonderful. The cleaners do that. They are going through a tough period at the moment. They need to know that their work is appreciated, respected and supported, and their very legitimate claims are honoured by members of this House. So I begin my Christmas remarks today by prioritising the Parliament House cleaners, who really are the unsung workers of this building.

I also thank the other workers in Parliament House, including the chamber attendants who look after us and the Comcar drivers in Canberra and in our home towns. In my case, in Sydney, I thank John Stikovic, and John Chapman, who keeps threatening to retire but has not got around to it yet. He is also trying to convert me to the South Sydney Rabbitohs—and I will continue to confer with the member for Grayndler about these matters—but he has to date failed. I thank the security staff. As has been mentioned, events during the year in Canada showed just how much we take for granted here in Australia and, in some instances, our safety in this building. The security staff make sure that that is something we can continue to enjoy.

At this time of year, I give my best regards to the Treasurer. The Treasurer is absent today, dealing with family matters. We wish him the best with those. I personally also wish the Treasurer's family the best for the Christmas season—his wife, Jenny; and his children, Abbey and Lily. All of us are doing our best for Australia; we just have different perspectives as to how that should be done. But I know the Treasurer's children must miss him, with the amount of time he spends away, as all of us do. So I wish him and his family the best. I thank his office, led by Phil Gaetjens, for their interaction on matters of national interest. This time last year, I was giving my best wishes to Joe Hockey, the then Treasurer. I also note him and his family in these remarks today.

I thank the shadow Treasury team—Andrew Leigh; and Ed Husic, my parliamentary secretary—and I welcome this year two very fine additions to the shadow Treasury team, Dr Jim Chalmers and Michelle Rowland, who have joined us. They are fantastic additions to the shadow Treasury team. I also pay my best regards to the member for Oxley, who has announced his retirement from this House, who is a valued colleague and friend in the shadow Treasury team.

I thank the shadow minister for finance and Manager of Opposition Business. Obviously, the shadow Treasurer and the shadow minister for finance work very, very closely together. Tony and I both joined Young Labor 26 years ago; we were both Sydney activists in the Labor Party; and we have been members of parliament together for 11 years, and now as shadow minister for finance and shadow Treasurer respectively—and, should all go to plan, finance minister and Treasurer this time next year!

I thank members of the Treasury portfolio: the Treasury itself, led by Secretary Fraser; ASIC; APRA; the ACCC; the Australian Bureau of Statistics; the Royal Australian Mint; the Commonwealth Grants Commission—many, many fine Australian men and women who work tirelessly. They need to know that their work is respected by the opposition. Again, this time last year I noted the departure of Dr Parkinson from Treasury. It turns out a year is a long time not only in politics but in the Public Service, and I understand we are welcoming Dr Parkinson back. He also has my best wishes.

I thank my own staff, led by James Cullen, my chief of staff, who has worked with me now for 11 years continuously. I could not wish for a better friend, a more loyal staff member or a more competent chief of staff. To all the other members of my staff—Hugh Hartigan, Alistair Beasley and Clare Brosnan, and electorate staff Carole Field, Thomas McCrudden, Ninos Aaron, Theresa Alphonse and Josh Robertson: I wish you the best. We will be having a Christmas meal, and perhaps a little bit of a drink as well closer to Christmas, but I take this opportunity in the House to wish them well.

I wish all members well, including you, Mr Deputy Speaker Vasta, and the other members of the Speaker's panel. It has been a big year for this place, a particularly big year. There have been winners and losers, but all of us, winners and losers and those of us in between, can go home to the bosoms of our families for Christmas and return refreshed next year for a year of battle in which the Australian people will make a decision about our nation's future and in which we intend to be successful. But we wish the other side good luck and best wishes personally while we work towards the demise of the government! We wish them the best for their future as well.

The SPEAKER: I thank the honourable member for McMahon, and I wish him and his family all the very best for Christmas and the new year.