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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7986

Senator WONG ( South Australia Leader of the Opposition in the Senate ) ( 19:52 ): Thank you for that courtesy. I apologise I didn't quite get here before the Leader of the Government took his seat, but he hasn't gone yet. I missed the beginning of your speech, Senator Xenophon, and I know you said 'maybe', so I don't know if this is one of those teasing things that you do: 'I might agree. I might not agree. I might go. I might not'. But in the event that the 'maybe' is in fact the case: I think I sent you a text, which, as I chided you today, you hadn't responded to, when you announced you were running in South Australia and I said, 'I think I can safely say the Senate won't be the same without you—stay in touch.' Certainly, we disagree on a range of policy positions; we agree on some. I do appreciate, notwithstanding those differences, that you have dealt with me courteously and with my team courteously, and you have listened to us when we have put a view to you. I particularly remember when in government as finance minister, we had some difficult and personal negotiations on some very big issues, including the NBN and of course the stimulus package. We were very appreciative that we were able to resolve those issues. So, I share Senator Brandis's distance from your political objectives: he wants Steven Marshall elected and I want the Premier re-elected. Obviously, we have a different political perspective, but I do wish you well.