The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD
(Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [11.50]: I move:
That this House at its rising today do adjourn until Tuesday 7 February 1995 unless the President, or if the President be unable to act on account of illness or other cause, the Chairman of Committees shall, prior to that date, by communication addressed to each Member of the House, fix an alternative date and/or hour of the meeting.
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD
(Attorney General, Minister for Justice, and Vice President of the Executive Council) [11.51]: There is an old Chinese saying: may you live in interesting times. For those of us who have survived the Fiftieth Parliament, that saying might have a particular meaning. However, I also understand that the Chinese saying is actually a curse. Whether it is a fair description of this Parliament I will leave to the judgment of historians, although after the events of the Fiftieth Parliament historians may have some difficulty finding the diaries to make an appropriate record. For honourable members who have been in the House, it has been a challenging Fiftieth Parliament. Much has been achieved, even though scribes in the press may have thought otherwise.
The Christmas season commemorates and celebrates the birth of Christ. It is a time of peace and goodwill and a season for us all to reflect on His message of love and forgiveness. For all honourable members it is a time to be with families, loved ones and friends. I hope all honourable members and the staff of this place are able to spend the Christmas season in the way they consider most special to them, particularly as we are about to go into a challenging election period. I thank all members who have
devoted their efforts to the working of the Parliament: Robin Dennis, the Editor of Debates and all the Hansard reporters; the catering staff; the attendants; the cleaners; the building services staff; Rob Brian and his hard-working Parliamentary Library staff who do so much to accommodate our varied and often strange requests.
On behalf of all honourable members of the House I would like to thank the staff of the Legislative Council. I must begin with the Clerk, John Evans, and the Deputy Clerk, Lynn Lovelock, for their constant, prompt and impartial assistance in the many issues that face this House. Honourable members may not realise the dedication of the other Legislative Council staff members, including committee staff, who work behind the scenes for long hours after we have left this place. I also extend my best wishes to Dennis Murphy. I know he has been listening tonight, wondering whether there may have been anything that attracted his attention, and he is listening now: Dennis, you and your staff may leave. To all who draft the laws we pass, usually under tight deadlines, we extend our thanks and appreciation.
I would like to thank all my Government colleagues for their continued friendship and support, particularly my ministerial colleagues Robert Webster, Virginia Chadwick and Ted Pickering. I also thank our Whip, John Jobling, and the Deputy Whip, Richard Bull. I extend my warmest wishes to my friend and colleague, and a friend to all of us, Beryl Evans. We were all disappointed that Beryl was not included on the Liberal Party ticket for this place, and I know all behind me share that sorrow. Beryl's energy, sparkle, wit, intelligence and good old-fashioned spunk have been a gift to all of us on the Government benches and to all of us in the House. I know that Beryl will continue giving her all to the community and those for whom she cares in whatever capacity she decides to serve in the future.
I thank my colleagues in the Opposition who have adorned the benches opposite for the last several years, and, if I might be able to say jovially, may they continue to enjoy them. I thank my colleague the Leader of the Opposition in this place for his warmth, his humour and his occasional indulgences. I thank also the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Bryan Vaughan. My particular good wishes go to Keith Enderbury, the Opposition Whip, who has ably executed his duties and who will retire at the next election. My best wishes also go to Delcia Kite and to Judith Walker, who will also retire at the next election. Each of you has made an indelible mark on the character of this House. We will all miss you. I have very much appreciated your friendships and your assistance during your period in the House.
I would also like to wish the members of the crossbenches a merry Christmas. I thank all honourable members for their cooperation, their integrity and their good humour during the year. At various times it has been trying for each of us, but we have been able to share a sense of mirth and, perhaps, the occasional wink. I would like to reflect on a comment about political debate made to me by my late senior partner, the old E. L. S. Hall, who was often involved in the political arena: when you are on the floor, you fight for all you are worth; but at the end of the day, do not take the fight off the floor; be able to go out and have a drink with your colleagues. I am pleased that in this House that is how the State is governed and I am very proud of that fact.
To you, Mr President, I extend special thanks. Under your careful guidance and supervision this place has functioned effectively and swiftly. Your measured, balanced approach to the affairs of the House is appreciated by every one of us, as is your leadership in other matters. I am especially aware of your deep understanding of and respect for the institution of the Parliament, including privileges of its members. I would like to thank my own staff. Ministerial staff are often referred to as minders. From time to time they mind me, and occasionally I find myself minding them, but I do not mind whichever way it is.
I would like to thank Meredith Sims, the assistant to the Leader of the House in the other place, who, regrettably will soon leave that position after several years of excellent work, and the Leader of the House in the other place, my colleague the Hon. Garry West. The consistent support and liaison between those two people, myself and Catherine Carter - my parliamentary assistant - have been vital to the administration of Government business between the two Houses. I note that David Barnes, the research assistant to Brian Pezzutti, will also leave us. I understand that he is one of the longest-serving researchers to honourable members of the House. The election climate is upon us all, and I wish all of you and your families a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.
The Hon. M. R. EGAN
(Leader of the Opposition) [11.57]: I join with the Leader of the Opposition in thanking all who have assisted us during the year in our work as parliamentarians: all the parliamentary staff, the clerks, the Hansard staff, the catering staff, the cleaning staff, our own personal staff, everyone who has assisted in the job that we do. I also join with the Leader of the Government in wishing all honourable members a very happy Christmas on behalf of my colleagues. This year I particularly mention our colleagues who will not be celebrating another Christmas as members of Parliament, the Hon. Beryl Evans, the Hon. K. J. Enderbury, the Hon. Judith Walker and the Hon. Delcia Kite. All were honourable members of this place long before I became a member. All of them have been valued colleagues. They have served both their parties and this Parliament well. Whilst we say farewell to them in a parliamentary sense, I am sure that they will continue to be friends and colleagues of all of us for a long time. We wish them all the very best. We wish them an especially happy Christmas, certainly their last Christmas as honourable members of this Parliament. We also extend those wishes to their families.
The Hon. R. T. M. BULL
[11.58]: On behalf of my leader, the Hon. R. J. Webster, and members of the National Party I extend very best wishes to members of the Legislative Council, as we close for the Christmas break. It is certainly a well deserved break and a time when we reflect on the extreme possibility that we will not be back here until after the end of the Fiftieth Parliament. The Fiftieth Parliament has been quite memorable, more memorable to those in another House than to those in this House. On this occasion we are saying farewell to some of our colleagues, and I would like to join with the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition in thanking, firstly, the Hon. Beryl Evans who has been a great stalwart for the Liberal Party and certainly a great friend of the National Party. Beryl has also been a great stalwart for country people. All honourable members would agree that Beryl is a very determined woman. She has certainly done a lot for a number of interest groups in New South Wales and she will leave this Parliament with a very distinguished record. We should all congratulate her on her achievements.
I thank Keith Enderbury, my fellow Whip. He has been a great Whip for the Opposition and a pleasure to work with. We wish him well in his retirement. I congratulate the Hon. Judith Walker and the Hon. Delcia Kite on their terms in the Parliament. We have enjoyed their company and friendship and being their colleagues in the House. Thank you for your friendship and good luck for the future. Mr President, I thank you for presiding over the Chamber so well in the past 12 months. I also thank the Clerks, the attendants, the Hansard reporters, members of the Parliamentary Library, David Draper and his staff, the attendants and all the others who make life for members in this place a lot easier. In conclusion, to all members of the House I extend on behalf of the National Party all the very best for the Christmas break. We hope you enjoy some quiet time of relaxation with your families and that you get the very best out of Christmas and all that it means. We look forward to meeting you all again when we gather here in the Legislative Council.
The Hon. ELISABETH KIRKBY
[12.01 a.m.]: My colleague the Hon. R. S. L. Jones and I wish first to pay respects to three remarkable women. I refer of course to the Hon. Judith Walker, the Hon. Delcia Kite, and the Hon. Beryl Evans. They are all, in their own way, remarkable women. They have had amazing lives and they have contributed greatly to the work of the Parliament. I do not believe that they will be forgotten easily. I wish all three the very best of luck in whatever they intend to do next. I also hope they have a very warm and happy Christmas with their families, particularly the Hon. Judith Walker, who I believe has just had two new grandchildren, twins. I also wish the Hon. Keith Enderbury, who is retiring at the end of this Parliament, the very best in his future endeavours.
I thank the Clerk of the Parliaments and the table officers, the Legislative Council administrative staff who do so many different things for members, and the Hansard reporters, who frequently have to translate incoherent remarks, often made over a great deal of background noise. I particularly thank the Parliamentary Library for the work done this year. Since the library staff has been expanded with the addition of research officers we have been getting an enormous amount of valuable material from the library which has made a huge difference to the way in which we are able to carry out our work. As always, we thank David Draper and the catering staff for the work they do for us and for how well they look after us. Other people in the building are often not thanked. I refer particularly to the cleaning staff, the attendants and the security staff, all of whom are essential to the Parliament running smoothly.
I join the Leader of the Government in thanking the Parliamentary Counsel staff for the work they have done, particularly as many of the amendments they have to prepare for us are drafted at very short notice indeed - often because we do not get the final print of the legislation until the last minute, when it may have been significantly amended in another place, which imposes enormous pressures. I also thank my own staff. It is interesting to reflect that in 1991 when I was re-elected my research officer was Armon Hicks. Armon is now working as a consultant with Kortlang. He was in the gallery this morning when the debate about ticks and crosses occurred. When we were working together we negotiated the amendments to the Electoral Act which resulted in party names being put on ballot papers, boxes being put on the Legislative Council ballot paper and, the thing that annoyed the Opposition more than anything, the disallowance of ticks and crosses. I wish him well in his new career.
He was followed by Dominic Wong, who worked with me until about six weeks ago. Dominic moved on and is now working in the Cabinet Office as an adviser to the Premier. It must have been decided that the work he had done as a research officer for a member of the Legislative Council had fitted him for that promotion. I thank Mary Underwood, who joined me after Dominic went to the Cabinet Office. She has been working for me for only a month. The workload has been very heavy, with a great deal of legislation that I was personally responsible for. She has certainly been working at top pressure since she arrived and I am very grateful to her. Her legal training and her being qualified as a solicitor and an advocate have been of great assistance to me.
Finally, I thank my personal assistant, Brenda Padgett, who organises marvellously the amount of work flowing through my office, particularly the number of phone calls I receive from constituents during the day and the vast amount of correspondence I have to deal with. This has truly been a remarkable year, not only for the Parliament but for the State. At the beginning of the year there were terrible bushfires and even in the last month there have been serious bushfires. The danger is frightening to contemplate when we know that we are still only at the beginning of the bushfire season.
The drought has left the whole State devastated. The rain in the last two weeks has been very patchy. It has not been drought breaking and there is no possibility of reasonable rain until March according to long-range weather forecasters. People in country areas are still suffering greatly and it may take many years for the agricultural sector of the community to recover. We should remember them particularly at Christmas because they are now undergoing the heartbreaking task of harvesting crops which might normally return them five or six bags per acre but which are now returning two bags per acre. Some of them may not even have seed for next year's crop. Many of them are already heavily in debt because of the effects of the recession and problems caused by their treatments by the banks. When we are celebrating our Christmas, fortunate to be secure in our employment and not bitterly or desperately affected by drought or bushfires, we must think of them.
Richard and I wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Christmas. I hope that the New Year brings us what we are all looking for: a successful conclusion to the election, whichever side of politics we are on. I hope the new Parliament which will be formed after the election in March continues the sterling work of this sovereign Parliament, the Legislative Council of New South Wales. I feel sure that it will. I thank all members for their personal friendship to me. I hope you have a rest and a happy Christmas.
Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE
[12.10 a.m.]: My wife, the Hon. Elaine Nile, and I extend our Christmas greetings to the members of the House, especially those retiring in the next election: the Hon. Keith Enderbury, who has served as Opposition Whip, a true gentleman and a good friend, will be missed; the Hon. Judith Walker, a courageous lady; the Hon. Delcia Kite, a quiet achiever; and the Hon. Beryl Evans, a caring member. We wish them all the best in their retirement and in their future activities. I am sure they will be busy in various ways in serving the community. As the Leader of the House indicated, we adjourn for Christmas because we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is really his birthday. As we conclude this year, the International Year of the Family, we think about Christmas and the story of the birth of Christ. The nativity scene reminds us all of the holy family of Jesus. The gospel according to St Matthew 1:18 contains the holy words of God:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name _m-man_-_l, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name jesus.
The story of the birth of Christ is depicted clearly in the nativity scene which is seen in many public places, and in many homes. The gospel according to St Luke 2:16 talks about the shepherds. It says:
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
The story of the birth of Christ reminds us of the importance of the family. Even though we live in a very difficult, complex, modern society, we should aim for that model or vision of the family that God has shown to us through the birth of his son. With other members I express special thanks for the assistance given by the President of this Chamber, the Hon. M. F. Willis, for his advice and assistance in many ways; to the Clerk of the Parliaments, Mr John Evans; and the Deputy Clerk, Ms Lynn Lovelock. We thank the assistant clerks who work in this Chamber for all the help we have had from them. We thank the staff of Hansard for their efficient reporting of our speeches, interjections and all that goes on in this House.
We thank the staff of the dining room for their cooperation, particularly the assistance we have had from David Draper in the many activities my wife and I hold in the dining room and committee rooms - luncheons, women's meetings, et cetera. We thank the security staff and the library staff as well as the Parliamentary Counsel. Together with my wife, the Hon. Elaine Nile, I extend the compliments of the season to all members of this House, particularly the Leader of the Government, the Hon. John Hannaford, and his family; and the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Michael Egan. I pray that the families of all honourable members have a blessed and joyful Christmas.
Honourable members, as is traditional I would like to add some comments. This evening has been deeply moving for me. I join with all members in wishing Christmas felicitations to everybody: to the Ministers, members of the Government, the Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition, the crossbenchers, the Clerks and all the people who render my work as President tolerable - indeed I find it still exciting. I thank you all for that. This is the greatest office to which I will, in my opinion, be elevated and I enjoy it immensely. You all know that I project this office as best I can to the public and the world. I thank you all for your support in this regard.
I thank also all the people down the line in the mass of administration of the Parliament, not only in the Council bureaucracy but to the wonderful people who come in here every day, who clean my bathroom, clean your offices, and clean the public
areas, many of whom go unsung and unrecognised. They are absolutely wonderful people. They all have private lives of their own, many of which most members would have no knowledge of. Some of their stories are very tragic and I have been privy to some of them. For myself and for all of you I thank all the people who come in here daily to do these tasks.
I give to all members my personal felicitations for Christmas. Christmas is a time of great goodwill. I can do no more than say to everybody that I give to you my personal goodwill and wish you all a very happy and holy family Christmas. However, I am
deeply disappointed personally at some events which have occurred this evening, but I will say no more. As I said when I accepted this high office, I am both the servant and the master of this House. This evening I understood quite clearly that I am its servant and I trust the House is cognisant of the step that it has taken. In conclusion, I wish everybody a very happy, holy and festive season. God bless you all.
Motion agreed to.
House adjourned at 12.19 a.m. Tuesday, until Tuesday, 7 February 1995, at 2.30 p.m.