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Thursday, 27 June 1996
Page: 2513

Senator MURPHY —I would like to make a few brief remarks with regard to those senators leaving us today. Firstly, Mr President, can I say that I have very much appreciated being able to associate with you here in this chamber and I have appreciated the friendship that you have shown. I do not need to express any view with regard to the job you have done; it has been a very difficult job and you have done it very well, and certainly you have done the Labor Party very proud.

Secondly, I want to mention Gerry Jones. I have only been here a very short time but when I came in he was the whip. Gerry, can I say to you thanks very much. I appreciate your assistance. You were always very pleased to give assistance to new senators. I hope I never gave you a dodgy excuse for seeking a pair. I do not think I ever wrote you a note. May I say all the best to you and your wife and family in whatever you intend doing.

Bryant Burns was the bloke I sat next to when I first came to the Senate. I actually thought it was some sort of punishment. I thought `God. They have sat me next to some old lefty!' But over time I have to say that I got to know Bryant and I very much enjoyed his company. Bryant, as chair of the rural and regional committee, was someone I learnt a great deal from. He contributed very significantly to rural and regional affairs. Certainly, from my point of view, he demonstrated a huge capacity to have a view and to have a great concern for the rural community in Australia. Burnsy took some fighting qualities to Christmas Island, and I am sure a few people will remember that. Although Senator Burns is not here; I wish him well.

My colleague Tom Wheelwright, the person I sit next to at the moment, is and we had a great trip together to Tahiti to protest the French tests at Mururoa. When we arrived at about 3.30 in the morning, we caught a taxi which turned out to be the most expensive taxi I have ever caught in my life. It took us about five kilometres and cost us about $25. We were supposed to be staying in mediocre type accommodation. Evidently they did not have enough accommodation to take all of the people that had turned up to protest in Tahiti, so we ended up being transferred, along with John Coulter, to the Hotel Sofitel, which was a five-star hotel/motel. We arrived there at about four o'clock in the morning and, as it was still dark, we could not see much. The next morning we got up and looked out the window—we were on the second floor—we saw beautiful lawns, a big swimming pool, an outdoor breakfast area and a beach, which was probably 30 metres away, with beautiful white sand. I turned to Tom and said, `If the workers could see me now. If this is what protest is all about, I am all for protesting!'

But, of course, we were there for a very serious reason and Tom, as he said before, got to go on the boat but was rather disappointed that none of the people could actually get to Mururoa. At the end of the day, there was a success to those protests and to all of the people who went. Mate, can I say that I really appreciate the advice that I have been able to seek from you with regards to economics—not that I have been able to understand too much of it. It has been rather interesting and I appreciate that, and I will certainly miss you when you are not here.

Robert Bell, of course, is my Tasmanian colleague. Robert and I have shared many views of a similar nature, particularly about forestry. I have to say that it is sad to see him go. I do hope that he gets back here, whether it be by way of a double dissolution or whatever. I do not think that Bob Brown, regardless of any effort he might like to make, will ever have the ability to make a contribution across the wide range of issues that Robert could make. I do not say that with any disrespect to Bob Brown, but I think that that will be the case. I wish you well, Robert, and hope you get back. Likewise, with my colleague here, I not only hope you will get back; I know you will be back. I look forward to the time when we can sit together again and exchange a few ideas about the opposition's economic rationale.

Christabel Chamarette is actually guilty of delivering to me the chairmanship of the first committee that I chaired in the Senate.

Senator Abetz —And she made me the shortest serving chairman of a committee.

Senator MURPHY —Senator Abetz, I am glad you said that, because that is true. It came about that it did make you the shortest serving chairman of any committee. That is what you get when you rat on deals you do with the Greens. You really cannot do that. Senator Herron was actually the perpetrator of that ratting exercise and I think he learnt something valuable from that exercise.

I never really had much to do with Senator Noel Crichton-Browne. One day he came across the chamber when we were in government and sat down beside me—I think we were having a division about something. It had always been expressed to me that Senator Crichton-Browne was a number cruncher within the Liberal Party and that he delivered certain things to certain people. When he sat down he said, `Listen, I hear you've taken one of the chairs of our committees.' I looked at him and thought, `Is this bloke threatening me, or what?' I had to explain to him that the deal that had been done was ratted upon and, hopefully, that would extricate me from having done something that was not a normally accepted practice. It is interesting to see where Senator Crichton-Browne has ended up prior to the end of this parliament. I say to him, as other senators have said, as Chairman of Committees he was a very good chair and he was a very good Deputy President.

I did not have a lot to do with Sid Spindler but, as other people have said, he was a great person. I think he contributed a great deal and, as Senator John Faulkner said, it has been even more enjoyable watching his contributions since we have been in opposition.

As for Baden Teague, I actually moved into Baden's old office when I first came into this place. Mind you, Baden, there was a bit of rubbish left behind in some of the drawers which I found somewhat interesting to read! Everyone else has expressed opinions and views with regard to you and I support and endorse those remarks.

The only thing that really sticks in my mind with regard to Michael Baume is the issue of pigs.

Senator Michael Baume —I wonder why that is.

Senator MURPHY —I am not sure whether or not you had a thing when you were a kid that you wanted to be a pig farmer but it must have been something like that.

Senator Michael Baume —I am interested in `Babes'.

Senator MURPHY —Maybe you wanted to partner the Prime Minister in a piggery.

Senator Neal —He wanted a pet pig.

Senator MURPHY —He wanted a pet pig. I hope whatever your new stage in life is going to be that you will get over the issue of pigs and go on to bigger and brighter things.