Page 1884 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022

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extending post-care support to age 21 and improving data collection on young people who exit care. An apt summary of that update is essentially: “Watch this space.” But we are tired of watching. People who have been involved in this space have been watching for more than five years. How long must they continue watching? How long will this Labor-Greens government continue to sit and then come back in a year’s time with the same thing: “Watch this space”? It is time to stop sitting and be brave and act. The people involved with child protection deserve better attention, better service and better support. Thank you.

Mr Robert Lovett—retirement

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (5.39): The Parton office will change forever at the end of this month, because at the end of this month we lose the great Robert Lovett, who has been a long-time staffer of mine. It is the third time that he has been set to retire, but this time he said, “Gayle, I am going to do it,” and he is.

I still recall the week that I was preselected for the Liberals to contest Brindabella in 2016. I think that that decision was made on a Thursday night and on the Saturday morning I had breakfast in Manuka with some interesting characters: John Barilaro, George Lemon and Rowan Carter. I said to them, “How do I do this?” Barra says to me, “Do you have a campaign manager?” I said no. We wondered who would be left because we were only 12 weeks out from polling day. George says to me, “Do you know Rob Lovett?” and I said, “Yeah, I think I met him one day in Brendan Smyth’s office. Do you have his number?” So we caught up later that weekend and the bromance had commenced.

Rob Lovett has been the most amazing addition, initially to the Parton campaign and then to the Parton office. He is like the human version of one of my kelpies because he is—no, he is, and I say that with the greatest of respect—perennially eager to please, absurdly loyal and he will just work for you all day and all night. Rob Lovett is a genuine Canberra Liberals legend. I am here to tell you that I am a little frightened about what lies ahead without Rob by my side because he has been such an integral part of what Mark Parton MLA has become. The beauty of our working relationship is that he is really good at the stuff that I suck at. He is so methodical, so military, and I am not.

Rob Lovett’s contribution to policy development, constituent engagement, hard-core campaigning and pretty much everything else that we do up here has been immense. I write most of my own speeches, but you could always tell when I got a Rob speech because Rob does not communicate in quite the way that I do. I have actually brought one of the old ones up here. I always felt almost compelled to read them in Rob’s voice, because he would write things to me like: “In regard to the transport appropriation, if you were going to engender a sense of excitement and lift performance in the public transport space, I would have thought this would be an area to look at, but I am not sure of schedule conformance.” I would say, “What does this even mean?!” Anyway, that is one of Rob’s.

Rob Lovett, I do not think I would have got elected in the first place without you. I do not believe that I would have been re-elected either. My development as an elected

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