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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1807 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Mark McRae, you will be sorely missed around this place, but we do hope that you will enjoy to the full your retirement. I thank you on my behalf and on behalf of the ALP, whether in opposition or in government.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I was about to dissent from your use of the word "stoic", but then I realised that, as a Collingwood fan, that is perhaps the most apt word to use to describe our Clerk, given the long time between drinks for Collingwood.

It is interesting to look at the CV of Mark Joseph McRae. He is a man who, when much younger, had a bit of the old travel lust. He was born in Young and educated in Bowral-would that be at Chevalier College, Mark?-before coming to the ANU, where he studied to become a teacher. Realising his passion in life was teaching and creating young minds, he spent two years as a teacher before he came back from Tasmania in 1974 and began work with the Department of the House of Representatives. He has been in Canberra for some 29 years.

I think that the wanderlust stopped when he found his niche, which was serving his country, his city and his friends through the parliamentary process. If you look at the positions that he has held, you will see that he is a man who has done it all. He started at the bottom with a standing committee and moved to a joint committee, before going to the procedures office, becoming the votes officer, the bills officer, the notice paper officer, the manager of the procedure office, the manager of the bills and papers office and, finally, the secretary of the Standing Committee on Procedure before coming to us.

I think it was to our luck that Mark came to join us in the Assembly, because new institutions setting their path and setting their mark depend very much on those who make them. Mr Speaker, you listed the number of speakers and members who have been and gone. The Clerk has outlasted about 50 of us. I think that that is a measure of the man.

His legacy will be the way in which he has set this Assembly to function. I think that the people of the ACT should be incredibly grateful that they were blessed with the presence here of Mark McRae for such a long time and the steadfast way in which he did his work.

Mr Speaker, I was struggling for a word before you came up with "stoic"and I tried to think of the attributes that people would instantly recognise in Mark McRae if I ran off a list of adjectives. One thing that immediately springs to mind about Mark is his depth of knowledge. He knows where everything is. He knows which page of House of Representatives Practice to go to. He not only knows the book, but also helped write it. Another is the manner in which he delivers it, gently telling you when you are wrong or that the other view really is the prevailing view, but giving you advice anyway on how you might go about tilting at the windmill of the day. The effort he has put in and the easy way he has put it in have made the job so much easier for all of us.

The standards that he has set have been unimpeachable and ones that those that come after us will benefit from for a long time, because they really do make sure that we as

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