3 December 2020
The PRESIDENT (17:23): I would like to make a few remarks, and I thank the leaders and the crossbench representatives for their comments. I think their comments about all the people who support us are well appreciated and are certainly appreciated by me.
As a former member of the whips’ union, I must always refer and defer to the work of the whips. I think until people have been a whip—and I know there is at least one leader in this place who was a whip—the whips’ work is always underestimated, and I take my hat off to the way in which the whips have worked since I have come into this role.
I also thank the number of people I have asked to fill in here for me, either in this chair or the one below. I appreciate that very much. I think it is of great benefit to this chamber to have more people who have had some experience in doing it, and there are a couple of others who have indicated an interest in it, and we will fulfil that in the new year.
I indicate my great thanks to the Clerk, the Black Rod and all the Legislative Council staff, particularly on my coming into this role just on 12 weeks ago. There have been many who have contributed and assisted me in that transition. I particularly pay tribute to Isabella, Tom and Adele in my office.
I make no apology for the fact that I think I am a great advocate for this chamber, and I have been very grateful for the assistance I have had in my short time in this role. I do put great importance on it being as fair as it can be for all members of this chamber. As was mentioned earlier, I know there will be times of disagreement, but I am pleased that in the last six or seven sitting days we have averaged just over 15 primary questions per day. That will not always be possible, but it is something that I want to continue, which means that a higher proportion of the people in this chamber get a chance to ask a question every day, and I am grateful for people’s assistance in that work.
I also want to thank all the people who work in this building and in associated ways with us. As has been mentioned, Hansard, obviously the parliament library, catering, building services and other employees of the JPSC, parliamentary counsel, and the PSOs. As someone who has very recently benefitted from having a chauffeur, I would be criticised if I did not mention the very dutiful people who do those jobs for those of us who have the benefit of having a chauffeur.
In conclusion, I thank everybody. As has been said, it has been a difficult year for all of us. It is a very unusual thing to be able to sit in this chair and look through the interview room to see what is happening across the other side of North Terrace. We had one week where we did not do that, but we have all had to adjust this year, and I am grateful for the way in which we operate in this place. I always take great pride in the standards that we hold here, and I will devote myself to maintaining that. I wish everybody a happy and blessed Christmas, and every best wish for 2021.