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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4229..

MR PRATT (continuing):

I give thanks to my staff, Kate and Sarah, who are both fairly new in their current jobs and who have grown beautifully into those jobs. They give me fantastic support and they give good support to the parliamentary party in a general sense. I would be lost without them, as I think most of us would be without our staff.

To my colleagues, Bill, Jacqui, Brendan, Vicki, Zed and Richard: I wish you all a merry and safe Christmas. To Bill's staff, of course, who provide support to all of our offices, I commend them and I wish David, who is about to depart, a safe career move. Joanna Woodbury recently departed from my office and I single her out, too, as somebody who gave tremendous support through this entire calendar year. As we reflect on those who have been close to us through this year, I thank Allan Eggins and my southern branch, the branch to which I belong, from whom I get a hell of a lot of support. They are a strong power base, if you like, for me and I hope I am as loyal to them as they are to me.

I thank the police, whom I did not mention earlier when thanking and giving best wishes to the emergency services staff. We put so much trust in and reliance on our police and I hope they have a safe and a merry Christmas. To all members of the Assembly, all my MLA colleagues: it has been tremendous jousting with you all and I wish you all a wonderful and safe festival season. To our support staff in this place—Tom, Max, Janice, all of our support staff downstairs, up in the committee rooms and the libraries—thank you so much for all of your assistance, all of your support and all of your warm and professional advice.

I leave until last the most special thanks to my wife, Samira, my daughter, Yasmina, and my son, Hayden, who do not see me particularly often. I thank them so much.


MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Industrial Relations) (6.08): Mr Speaker, I will begin by wishing you, all members of the Assembly and everyone who works in the building a safe and happy Christmas break. It has been a big year for me, and I would like to thank Mr Hargreaves, in particular, for his very strong support in the transition, which was so very difficult, obviously, from his employ as chief of staff. But when an opportunity presented itself to run for a casual vacancy in this place it was indeed too good an opportunity to turn down.

I would like to also thank everyone who has worked with me in my office this year, particularly John Hannoush, who came in to pinch-hit for the first few months as chief of staff to steady this young and new minister into that role. Also I would like to thank Liz Lopa, whom I was very fortunate to be able to convince to come with me from Minister Hargreaves's office to be my media adviser. Probably not a day goes by when Liz and I are not on the phone, and there have been certainly a couple of weekends when the mobile has started flashing with Liz's number and I have known with dread what to expect in terms of having to deal with the media at an ungodly hour. But Liz has always provided me with a fantastic level of support in what has, obviously, been a very difficult initial period as a minister.

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