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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4491..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

Members of the committees are forgotten about. I would particularly thank the new manager of committees, Mr Derek Abbott. He has done a spectacular job following in some big footsteps. Derek, for your work on the Privileges Committee and all the other assistance you have given me, thank you very much.

I thank Siobhan of the Health Committee and Patrick McCormack of the Public Accounts Committee-Patrick has now left the Assembly-for all their assistance and support over the last year.

I wish the government guys the best of luck. You have had a good year. The honeymoon is over. Go out and relax, because next year will be a very different year. That I can guarantee you. I look forward to working with the crossbenchers over the coming two years.

Once my own team have sorted out a few seating arrangements, we are going to settle down and have a good two years proving to the people of Canberra that we are ready to take the government benches back.

I would like to thank you all for your friendship and your support over the years. It is great that behind the scenes we have put so much behind us and treat each other as human beings. It is a wonderful thing. It is not a side of us people see a great deal of. I would like to thank you all for the support you have given me personally as an MLA this year.

Valedictory

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (9.42): I would like to join with the Leader of the Opposition and wish everybody involved in the running of this extremely good parliament the best for Christmas, the holiday season and next year. I join with Mr Smyth in all of the sentiments he expressed. I will not repeat them. I will repeat the thanks to all of those members of this parliament who make it run seamlessly and smoothly. All the staff in all the various aspects of the building are vital to the Assembly's performance and running, as is each member of the office of each of us in this place. I thank each and every one of them. I wish them all the best for the season.

I hope that everybody has a good rest. I hope that each and every member in this place has a good and restful holiday. I echo the sentiments that Mr Smyth expressed about the stress and the pressure on all politicians. It extends to politicians in this place. It is a hard and stressful job. I think we underestimate the impact on each of us and the state of our individual health and souls and those of our families and our staff. It is good that Mr Smyth acknowledged that. It is something I have always acknowledged. We need to acknowledge how tough the job is, and we need to be a little bit gentle on ourselves and give ourselves a break and not be defensive about the fact that politicians do have a right to a holiday, a break, time with families and time to regather and build up their strength for the full year ahead and the future. That goes for all the staff in this place as well.

In the last three days each of us in the Assembly has worked the equivalent of six days. We should acknowledge that and how tough it is on each of us. I do not want to be maudlin about that. We all fought to the death for the job. But a touch of reality from


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