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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1813 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

patience shown to me soon had me acting in accordance with standing orders with some confidence. I have to say that it took a while, Mr Clerk, but I finally worked them out.

Mark McRae leaves this place with our best wishes and with our affection. In my time here I have developed a love and often a fascination for parliamentary practice, much of which is attributable to the lessons I have received from Mark McRae, often without his direct influence. We share this devotion to parliamentary practice.

I have to say that I have detected only the slightest wrinkle of the eyebrows when the place has descended on occasion to similar antics found in primary schools. I have come to notice expressions of displeasure in an otherwise poker-faced countenance. In fact, I was having a go at the Clerk or the Deputy Clerk, I cannot remember which, over our common allegiance to God's own football team, and I noticed a smile from the Deputy Clerk and a very little wrinkle in the eyebrows of the Clerk. Perhaps it is this experience that Mark McRae has had in managing the likes of us that gives him the expertise to excel in animal husbandry in Murrumbateman. Perhaps it is going to be a breeze.

Finally, I extend to Mark the very best for the future, the very best of luck to Beth, who will enjoy his company more frequently now, and hope that the future holds these delights for him: a quiet life, fine company, good wine, and a Collingwood premiership.

To digress a little, the Leader of the Opposition referred to Mark McRae's "Joe Cool"attitude. I do not know how many other people remember it, but I remember the days when the Clerk sported a full beard. I have to say that it was a black and white beard, a subtle and understated signal of his Collingwood devotion. "Subtle"and "understated"are also words which can apply to Mark McRae.

Today closes another chapter in an illustrious career. May the next chapter be as fulfilling as those that went before. I join all members here in saying, "Thank you, friend of the parliament, and all the very best for the future."

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning): Mr Speaker, it is a measure of Mark McRae's success as Clerk that until this evening he has managed to have very few words said about him in Hansard. Indeed, it is a measure of some failure tonight that we are having a prolonged debate about his role in this chamber, because I am sure that he and other members of his profession would appreciate that it is best that they are not talked about. Indeed, the smooth running of this place relies upon them quietly and subtly ensuring behind the scenes that everything operates smoothly and there does not need to be any commentary on the capacity of those who administer the Assembly on our behalf.

I am not going to prolong the embarrassment tonight, except to say that one of the first people I met when I came to this place was Mr McRae. Shortly after I met Mr Duncan. Tom will have to brush up on the capacity not to smile and laugh during Assembly debates. You are a little more obvious, Tom. You will need to work harder on that.

Mark, I have appreciated those lessons you have taught me on the standing orders and on why things happen and, believe it not, there is a reason why everything is in there; just ask Mark McRae. I appreciate that his capacity and his dedication to the role of Clerk

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