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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3090

Mr ABEL (Evans) -Mr Speaker,this is the last occasion that you will have the opportunity of calling the honourable member for Evans. I regret personally that the name of Evans has been removed from the list of electorates in New South Wales. But I, like my friend and colleague the honourable member for Wimmera (Mr King), accept the fact that redistribution was necessary, and that my seat had to suffer. Last night in a fair fight I lost Liberal Party preselection for the new seat of Lowe, which now contains 41 per cent of the electors from my old seat of Evans that was, as I have just said, recently abolished. Sir William McMahon, the right honourable member for Lowe who won the pre-selection, has my total support as the endorsed Liberal candidate for that seat. I wish him every success in the election on 10 December so that our policies and our legislative program may continue to have community acceptance. I shall be giving all my energies to his campaign. Sir William will be fortunate indeed to have the loyal and active support of so many of my constituents. With my team we will be working hard to ensure that Lowe remains Liberal with our former Prime Minister as the member.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the federal Parliament. It is an opportunity, a privilege and an honour that is afforded to but few. Many seek to serve in this place but few succeed. I have enjoyed serving at both the policy level and through the parliamentary and Liberal Party committees. But my greatest thrill has come from living and working with my constituents, most of whom are either veterans, young people, migrants or, may I say elderly Australians. Despite the ruggedness of politics there is a special kind of friendship here. I say in all sincerity that it is on both sides of the House. I have made many friends from all walks of life, of all political calibres, and I am sure that my leaving this place will not in any way endanger those friendships. To all of you I should like to say thank you for your help, assistance and friendship. To the hundreds, if not thousands, of Australian- like one family, the Campisi family- in my electorate who have worked for me in more ways than I shall ever know. I want them to know how grateful I am for their support.

In no way has my devotion to liberalism been diminished. The fight is still very much on. I look forward to returning to Parliament shortly to continue my duty and my career and to serve the Australian people. The kind of nation we should have, as I see it, has been spelt out in my earlier speeches in this place, the questions I have asked and the commentaries that I have given to the media- It would be remiss of me if I did not express my grateful thanks and gratitude to the Clerk, his assistants, the Hansard reporters, the staff of the parliamenary refreshment rooms who have looked after us, to Gordon Pike and his drivers and workers, the attendants, and even our friends in the Press Gallery. To all those people who are employed in Parliament House and who have assisted me in one way or people I say: Thank you.

I come now to those people who on 13 December 1975 saw fit to allow me to serve the electorate of Evans. I want to thank them for affording me the honour of serving them for two brief years. My staff, who have been loyal and faithful, have my gratitude. Regrettably, they will be looking for greener pastures. That is a matter which the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) has just mentioned. To my wife and my children, I say thank you. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

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