Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1815 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
I wish you well. I wish Beth well. If I were to define him, as everybody else is doing, I would say that I regard Mark McRae as a consummate parliamentary officer and a friend. Thank you for all your help.
MS MacDONALD: Whilst I have not been here since 1989-in fact, as Mr Hargreaves referred to us, I am one of the members from the most recent 30 per cent turnover-I would like to add my comments of appreciation about Mark McRae.
Mr Quinlan talked about the transition to this place being smooth for him. I, too, found that with Mark's guiding hand. In fact, the day that Phil Green declared me and everybody else in this place elected, I had actually come to the Assembly to have coffee with my colleagues in the place in celebration of both my election and, of course, the election of the Labor government.
As I happened to be in the place, I thought I would stop by and say hello to Mark and Tom, and did that. Much to my great surprise, they were prepared for me. They said, "Ms MacDonald, we will be putting you and Ms Gallagher in this office. It may be just a temporary thing. We may have to move you around a bit later, but we have this office all prepared, so we will show you up there, give you the keys."We talked about how the Assembly would have to be called together fairly soon as we did not have a governor or an administrator and the tintacks of running a place like this, et cetera.
We went through the practicalities of how much I would get paid and how I would be paid for working seven days a week, not five days a week like the rest of the community, and how I would also get a car. Quick as a flash, I said, "I don't want the orange one."Mark did not bat an eyelid. He said, "That's fine, Ms MacDonald, we will see to that."Sorry, Jacqui, but orange is not my colour. That was an example of the very cool demeanour of the Clerk.
Mr Speaker, you used the word "stoic"to describe Mark. I would add that he is a saint, except that neither he nor I actually believes in saints. I know that from a discussion that we had on religion in November of last year when we were with the Australasian Study of Parliament Group. We had dinner after one of those hard days talking about privilege and Mark, my brother-in-law, Dave Skinner and I had a fairly interesting conversation about all those things that you are not supposed to talk about over dinner, including religion. From that I gathered that Mark does not believe in saints; in fact, he is not really sure what is up there.
Mr Speaker, I would add that "stoic"is an apt description of Mark. My election to this place was not my first meeting with Mark McRae. I first met Mark in my role as the union organiser for the Australian Services Union. Anybody who has had to work in industrial relations in the last 10 years or so will tell you that one of the joys of being involved in industrial relations is in going into enterprise bargaining negotiations, which seem to never end!
Mark was sitting in on the negotiations for the enterprise agreement for the Chief Minister's Department in about 1996 or 1997. Occasionally, Tom would turn up as well. They probably sat on the other side of the table thinking that they really did not care what happened in the Chief Minister's Department because it had nothing to do with this