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Friday, 6 December 1985
Page: 3228

Senator COLLARD (Leader of the National Party of Australia)(4.21) —I would also like to express my congratulations and best wishes to everybody. I will not enter the debate on electoral systems, although I am very much tempted to do so. I simply say that I concur with the remarks that were put down by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Chaney). This is neither the time nor the place to take that matter further. This place is certainly not a Sunday school forum. It is the national Parliament and things get a little rough at times. Nonetheless, we get an appreciation of each other's qualities across the chamber. In that spirit, I wish not only those on this side of the Senate but also those on the Government benches all the best for the Christmas season and the New Year.

Mr Deputy President, I thank you for the way you have filled the breach and carried out your duties while the President has been away. I also thank all officers and staff of the Senate for the sacrifices that they make in keeping this place operating. I have already spoken to the President. However, if he is listening to this debate, I certainly wish him all the best from me and from the National Party of Australia. As Senator Chipp has said, all the reports that we get indicate that he is coming along fine. As a matter of fact, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation announced yesterday morning that you, Sir, were taking the Chair because Senator McClelland was ill. The President indicated to me that within five minutes of that announcement being made he had 10 phone calls from his friends wanting to know what was wrong with him. He said: `I feel a bit of a fraud because I am not all that bad'. I said: `Well, Doug, sit back and enjoy it-it is not too often that you get a chance to get looked after and feel as well as you say you are'. Having said that, sir, I extend the best wishes of the National Party to all involved in this place and to my colleagues on both sides of the Senate.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I should like first of all to express my regret that the President, Senator Douglas McClelland, cannot be here today to give you his Christmas greetings. I am sure I am speaking for all senators and Senate staff in sending such greetings to him and our hopes for his early return to the Senate. He assures me that he will be back on duty next week. On his behalf, I would like to thank all of those who make this Senate function-the Temporary Chairmen, the Clerks and staff of the Department of the Senate, the Joint House Department, the Parliamentary Library, Hansard, the parliamentary refreshment rooms, the attendants, the police and security officers and, last but by no means least, the transport officers who not only meticulously arrange our transport but also are an infallible guide to when the Senate is actually going to rise. I thank them all for their efforts and wish them a happy festive season. On their behalf, I thank all honourable senators who have paid tribute to them.

One of the frustrations of being Acting President is that one sees debates go by without being able to make any contribution to them. I, like every other senator, always believe my contributions to be especially helpful and incisive. This is my only opportunity to make a speech, and I intend to make full use of it. I did not know what the circumstances would be when I came to make my speech today. As a precaution I prepared two speeches-a short one and a long one. I am finding speech making so pleasant and the atmosphere so festive that I have decided to give both of them-the short one and the long one. I will give honourable senators the short one first-Merry Christmas; and the long one second-Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 4.25 p.m., until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 11 February 1986, unless otherwise called together in accordance with the resolution passed earlier this day.