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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7985

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (19:50): I wasn't proposing to participate in the adjournment debate this evening, but I understand that Senator Xenophon has intimated that may very well have been his last speech to the chamber, depending upon the High Court. I suspect this was not your last speech to the chamber, Senator Xenophon, because if it was, you've had a complete personality change. The speech has been delivered in a low-profile, unflamboyant, discreet way and there's not a single journalist or, indeed, photographer in the gallery. So all of the indicators suggest that this isn't your last speech.

But against the possibility that it is, I do want to say to you on behalf of the government, while we do not wish you success in the South Australian election because we in the government are strongly of the view that the election of Steven Marshall as the Premier of South Australia is far and away in the best interests of the state of South Australia. Nevertheless, I did want, in the event that this is your last speech, to wish you well in a personal sense on behalf of the government and to thank you for your service in this chamber, which has been very conspicuous and very consequential. We have found that you have agreed with the government more often than you have not agreed with us. But, whether you've agreed with us or not, you've always dealt with us in a considerate, constructive and collegial manner.

May I say to you, Senator Xenophon, on my own personal behalf, that when the day comes that you leave us, I for one will miss you. I don't think every one of my government colleagues would say the same, but you and I have become friends. I've enjoyed our friendship. I hope it will continue and, in a personal sense as well, I wish you all of the best for the future, and I wish you success in the High Court as well.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Xenophon, it would be remiss of me to not also wish you all the best. I'm reluctant to say this because we don't know whether this will be your valedictory speech or not, but, in any event, I associate my remark with the Attorney-General. I too have enjoyed the company of you on the journey in this place and we've been here for a similar time—a little bit longer for me. I do wish you all the best. Before I do announce the adjournment, in a very timely manner, I will call on the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Wong.