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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4221..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

babies. This is Robyn's first child and we have had a fabulous year. I thank her for baby David. I look forward to his first Christmas as I now get to buy boys' toys. Up until now I have been able to buy only Barbie dolls and dolls houses. I now look forward to buying trains and footballs. I also thank my daughters Amy and Lorena for always supporting me in what I do.

I wish everyone a truly happy and holy Christmas. At Christmas time we are tired and often miss the Christmas message. Christmas comes and goes before we realise it but it is a great time of the year to reconnect with one's self, one's family and one's friends—something that members of parliament often do not get a chance to do. I hope everyone uses the time well and that it is of benefit to them. I hope everyone relaxes and enjoys themselves. I will see everyone next year.


MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (5.39): I wish all members of staff and their families a safe and happy festive season. I would also like to say how much I have enjoyed the fruitful relationship between my office and the offices of other members. It is nice to see the way in which government staffers, opposition staffers and crossbench staffers work together professionally. It should be applauded from time to time.

At this time of year it is proper for me to express appreciation to my staff for their service over the past year. In the first half of the year I was well served by Maria Vincent, Ian McNeill and Liz Lopa. Andrew Barr, my then chief of staff, provided a balance in the office and displayed leadership and maturity. His treacherous departure for a higher pay packet and media glory propelled him to greatness but it filled me with a sense of pleasure and pride. I enjoy having him as a ministerial colleague.

In the second half of the year I was joined by a very professional group of people, each of whom has special skills. I sincerely thank Jim Mallett, Caitlin Bessell, Kim Fischer and Stacey Pegg for their support and their sense of humour. We are a well-knit team. That closeness of my team can be put down to my chief of staff, Geoff Gosling, whose guidance, leadership and vast knowledge are at times awesome.

I also acknowledge the DLOs with whom I worked last year. Ashleigh King, Paul Udovisi, Geoff Virtue, Emma Taber, Maria Mangereuca, Matthew Clissold, Cathy Hoekzema, Jancye Winter and Tim Arkely-Smith were very effective in liaising between my department and my office. I have been privileged to serve with some great people in the service of the community, but I need to single out Sandra Lambert and Mike Zissler, who have been supportive and provided leadership in really tough times. The executives who support them are a magnificent bunch of people. I thank Peter Dunn, former commissioner of the ESA, and Chief Police Officer Audrey Fagan for their support when I was their minister.

Finally, I thank Assembly support staff, library staff, the Committee Office, the Secretariat, Ray Blundell and Barry Schilg for their technical support, Hansard staff

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