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Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Page: 95

Senator CHRIS EVANS (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (6:58 PM) —I too want to make a few short remarks, on behalf of the opposition, to farewell Senator Tierney. I am always a bit wary about valedictories, or, as I refer to them, obituaries. I have to watch myself now: I refer to them as obituaries out of habit. But, of course, they are not obituaries; they are just farewells to persons who have served in the Senate and are leaving. I understand that Senator Tierney is resigning slightly before the end of his term to take up some other employment. I am very pleased to hear that there is life after the Senate for long-serving senators. I am most cheered by that prospect. I see that Senator Tchen is present. I hope there is life after the Senate for him too. On behalf of the opposition, I want to recognise Senator Tierney’s service on behalf of the Liberal Party in representing New South Wales. I understand he has been in the Senate since 1991—a bit before me—and was elected in 1993 and 1998.

My most regular contact with Senator Tierney has been through his role in the employment, education and training committees and his longstanding interest in education, which I know he has pursued through the parliament consistently while he has been here. He has built up an expertise and has worked very strongly in those committees in the parliament. I have always found Senator Tierney to be professional, motivated and assiduous in pursuing his interests, those of his constituents and those of the Liberal Party. I served on a committee with Senator Tierney and Senator Carr. It was one of the most entertaining periods of my service in Senate committees in that Senator Carr and Senator Tierney developed such a close working relationship and always got on so well. It was always a delight to see the two of them working cooperatively in the interests of the Senate. I am sure Senator Carr will also miss Senator Tierney’s contributions enormously.

I am sure Senator Hill will do justice to Senator Tierney’s service in the parliament. I just want to acknowledge on behalf of the opposition the role that he has played. I sometimes find some senators a little hypocritical in that they only say nice things about people once they have retired. One of the things that really annoys me about this chamber is that people always welcome back visiting senators, a couple of months after they have left, whom they abused while they were here. I have always found that a very disconcerting and false sort of process. But I think we all accept that, despite different political views, there are relationships across the chamber. I think there is acknowledgment across the chamber of people’s effort and contribution. I certainly want to acknowledge Senator Tierney’s contribution to this place and wish him well. I know he and his family have been active in the community and I am sure that he will continue that work. I wish him and his family the best and thank him for his service to the parliament. As I said, I hope he does find a successful and rewarding life outside parliament.