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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3885 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

It was very opportune that today, on his last day, we finally passed the Defamation Bill. I can recall some interesting things being said in the paper when Michael left the Residents Rally. Michael did particularly well out of the then defamation laws. I think, mate, you got the four-wheel drive out of that. I am not quite sure whether that will apply again. You left the Residents Rally and have been an Independent for a bit over 12 years.

Michael and I have not seen eye to eye on a lot of issues. We crossed swords in the First Assembly and have done so occasionally since then. But from the First Assembly, when I worked on committees with Michael, I have always been impressed with his broad depth of intellect, his lateral thinking and his passion for so many issues, some of which I would not agree with him on. I have always admired and respected his passion. I have found him fundamentally a very decent person. Despite our great differences of opinion on some things, I think we had a pretty good working relationship, which certainly continued when he joined the Liberal government as an Independent minister in cabinet.

Michael, might I say to you and to your family that it has been a lot of fun and always interesting working with you. My very best wishes to you for the future, and thank you for what you have done for the Australian Capital Territory and the people of the territory.

Michael's father-in-law, Eric, has a relationship that goes back a long time to before I was born. Eric was at Barton House with my mother before she met my father. That relationship goes back a hell of a long time.

Mr Moore: They talk about you in the pusher, mate.

MR STEFANIAK: I know. I cannot remember that. They are an old Canberra family.

Might I also thank my own family. Without their support, it would be very difficult to do a job such as this. It is especially difficult with young children. You miss your family very much in a job like this, but without their support it would be hard to do the job. I want to acknowledge that.

My own personal staff-Michael, Dinah and Mary-I thank you very much for your support. It is good to see Michael and Dinah here today. Well done, Sergeant. Dinah, good to see you.

I thank the DLOs. There have been a number of educational DLOs. They do a wonderful job. I do not know whether people appreciate the work the DLOs do. They do an excellent job no only for the area they are working with but also for a number of Assembly members who might come to them with problems. I want to thank the educational DLOs I have had. Barbara is the most recent. Of course, I thank John Malouf, who has been with me since I became AG. He does an excellent job.

I thank the departmental staff. I think we are blessed in this territory with so many competent public servants, from CEOs right down the line. I thank those in my department and the various departments I have had responsibility for over the last 31/2 years. They serve the territory exceptionally well,. I thank them for that.

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