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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 27 November 2014) . . Page.. 4256 ..

Mr Ray Blundell—retirement

Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to make a statement in relation to the retirement of Mr Ray Blundell. Mr Blundell—Ray—has had a long and distinguished service in the Assembly and will soon be retiring as our technical officer. On behalf of the Assembly, I want to acknowledge and express our gratitude to Ray for his service. After 20 years of dedicated service to this place, Ray has decided to hang up his soldering iron and patch cables and pick up his fishing rod and esky.

Like the golden columns that surround this building, Ray is something of a fixture of the Assembly, a pervasive presence—although there is no mood for heritage listing of Ray currently. Ray has played a key part in ensuring that this place runs smoothly. He is a man of many talents and truly a jack-of-all-trades—in fact, a master of many as well. Whether it is a problem with TV reception, adjusting the microphones in committee hearings, repairing a radio circuit board or providing ever so delicate advice and voice coaching to members to be sure that their voice can be heard in the Hansard recording, Ray has always been there. In fact, even when he is on leave pursuing his great passion—fishing—he has been known to give instructions to his Hansard colleagues down the phone from some remote outback location. I have been told that it is never too far from a local watering hole of some kind or another—“water hole” or “watering hole”; I am not quite sure what my advice was on that.

Ray has seen the Assembly through a period of major technical change in the last 20 years. When he arrived here, the work of the Hansard area was done when all the proceedings were recorded on analogue magnetic tape. That was in a previous millennium. Of course, he now has a range of digital systems at his disposal, and if he cared to hang around a bit longer, he would have even better ones, thanks to the recent appropriation. Ray has been here throughout, adapting to these changes with the grace of a quiet achiever who is the master of his domain.

On a sitting day you will find Ray back there in the Hansard booth—and I hope he is there at the moment—cool as a cucumber—although he is probably not at the moment—operating the microphones, switching the cameras to show members on their feet, mixing the audio feed, checking the webstream, troubleshooting the reticulation issues and keeping a close eye on transcription recordings. And he does all this all the while holding forth with considerable vigour on the issue of the day.

My concern about Ray is that the succession planning for Ray probably means that we will need to have many more people doing the job that Ray has done. I am not entirely sure that we have managed the complete brain transplant that is necessary before Ray leaves.

During his tenure in this place, Ray has seen the coming and going of five Speakers—of course, I am the best—two Clerks, five managers of the Hansard area and countless members—of which I am the best. He has a reputation as an amateur psephologist, and I understand that he has a better record of accuracy in predicting election results than some of the professionals out there—which would not be hard sometimes.

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