Page 119 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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I specifically want to thank Lisa Brill from my office and Rebecca Cairns, who was in my office but has gone back to her permanent position, for having supported me and put up with me generally. We all had our nervous breakdown together, but it was actually fairly small. So I am grateful for that. The three of us, of course, were all very grateful to my husband, Brendan, for the continuous flow of emails and phone calls that we got on a daily basis, reminding us of all the things that we had agreed to do as part of the campaign. I am very glad to be back and I look forward to the next four years in majority government and beyond.

Mr Speaker, it was my great pleasure on Monday of last week, 29 November, to attend the inaugural speech of Tony Burke, who is the shadow minister for small business in the federal parliament. When I say his inaugural speech—he was referring to it as his first speech—he did, of course, point out that it was his second first speech because last year he gave his first “first” speech in the New South Wales upper house.

Tony and I went through Young Labor together. I have mentioned Tony before in this place because it was he who gave me the form to join the Labor Party in the first place, took it into head office for me and signed me up. He has provided, over 10 years, many years of guidance and support. Of course, Tony and I do not always see eye to eye, he being of a pro-life disposition and having a pro-life view, and I being pro-choice on a number of issues. But I do respect his views and of course it is always very difficult to be anything other than amiable with Tony because he is such a nice bloke. I wish him the best of luck.

I note that he stated in his inaugural speech last week that the convention was for him to be heard in silence for his first speech and then not. His response to that was: good, bring it on. I say as well that it is good to see him in the place because I know that he will take on the debate and thrust the challenge of the debate in the big house up on the hill and he will be a worthy advocate and a worthy person to represent the Labor Party in the House of Representatives for the seat of Watson. My congratulations go heartily to Tony, his wife, Cathy, and their three children whose names I cannot all remember.

New members
Molonglo electorate
Mr Michael Long

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (5.56): There are a couple of things I want to say. Firstly, I would really like to welcome our new members, four of whom are sitting in the house—Mr Seselja, Dr Foskey, Mary Porter and Mick Gentleman. I want to say welcome.

I want also to thank the people of Molonglo and my colleagues. About all those things I will probably talk more later in the final speech of the year. But I want to say that it is fantastic to be back in this place for the third time. It seems I have ramped up steam and energy each time I have been here: the first time for nine months; the second time for 18 months; and now I am here for four years. So I thank everybody involved in that and no-one more than my husband, Lindsay, whom I love and adore. He is the tower of strength in my life and, like all members who have partners, husbands, whatever, we would not be here if it were not for their help, support and encouragement. It is one heck

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