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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1818 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

I was very impressed to hear that you had played prop somewhere. My only question is: how come you have got all your teeth left? If you still have all your teeth left, you cannot have being doing your job onerously, but you got through that.

Ms Gallagher: They might be dentures.

MR PRATT: I do not think that they are dentures, but I will not go up there and inspect them. Mark, I would like to wish you and Beth all the best in Murrumbateman and a happy retirement.

MS TUCKER: Many words have been spoken about Mark McRae and I endorse them all. One thing that has not been said about how Mark McRae has worked is the enjoyment that he seems to have when he is working. I have often been surprised at that. It is a lovely thing to see and I have appreciated it. I would like to acknowledge that because it is nice to see someone being able to enjoy their work, even though it can be so difficult at times.

I wish to say a couple of words about the position of clerk. I realise that the potential for chaos in a place like this is enormous because we are all passionate people and we have our own ideas about how to further the agendas that we were elected to pursue in this place. That means that sometimes people will play around with the structures of the Westminster system.

Over the years that I have been here, I have seen that happen a couple of times. In fact, when the Greens were first here we had ideas that we thought were sensible and once or twice we were quite prepared to override the many years of tradition in the Westminster system, but we did not do that after seeking advice from Mark McRae and others. The fact that they do conduct themselves in such an honourable manner means that you cannot help respecting their view. I think that is incredibly important for the institution of every parliament. Over the years I have been here, I have become much more conservative in terms of my willingness to play around with how we work as a parliament.

Mr Stefaniak: Conservative! That's a first.

MS TUCKER: I am conservative in terms of the structures of the parliament. I am quite afraid of change because I think the situation is scary enough as it is. The potential for chaos is too great already, so the Clerk has a very important role to play there. As a regional representative of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, I was invited to a Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference and I found it to be fascinating because the issues debated there by the presiding officers and clerks were not ones that we are normally privileged to hear debated by so many people with expertise in the area. I found that very stimulating and I learned a lot from that. It further increased the respect I have for the role of clerks and the importance of them to parliaments.

On a more personal note, Mark, you have been fantastic support and a reassuring presence, as everyone else has said, and have taught me a lot over the years. I appreciate that very much. I wish you and Beth the best.

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