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Monday, 13 November 2017
Page: 8123

Senator RYAN (VictoriaSpecial Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet) (10:09): It is a great honour that my colleagues in the government have nominated me for this distinguished position. It is not a circumstance that I thought would present itself, nor one that I particularly thought would present itself to me personally in the immediate years before me. The role of this chamber in our Constitution is something I have always treasured. I have studied it, I have taught it and I have always been a strong defender of it. It plays a unique role in giving Australians a voice who might not often have a voice in the other chamber, represented not necessarily by a geographic constituency but by interests they may form collectively through voluntary association or through their efforts in our community. I treasure this chamber and the role it plays. I seek your support. I appreciate that it is not common for someone to resign from the ministry, as I have done, to contest this. But it is not unprecedented. I am advised there have been eight former presidents who have previously served as ministers. I understand that the most recent one was my distinguished predecessor the Labor senator Douglas McClelland. He too served as Special Minister of State in a previous life. I think this particular portfolio gives me a unique perspective on how to put forward and defend the interests of senators and the Senate itself. Thank you.