Page 4957 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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I am going to break a small confidence here and betray Midnight Max. As all of you would know, when Max turned up, the Assembly started to sit till midnight every night as a tradition, just because of Max’s presence. Acting Clerk Max was able on Tuesday to ring the paternity leave Clerk to say, “I’m no longer Midnight Max. I’m now Midday Max; we knocked off at 11.17 on Tuesday,” to which, apparently, the Clerk responded that he has now got Midnight Matilda to make up for it. So there are obviously lots of people who are learning about the joys of parenthood, and we wish young Matilda, young Harry, and whatever it is that Katy has as a young minister the best in the coming year.

To all those who make the place work, starting with your office, Mr Speaker: thank you for the way you look after us so generously and courteously all the year long. I have sat here in the shadow of your old spot and learnt much about interjecting over the course of the last couple of years—and of course it will continue. To the Clerk’s office, through you, Acting Clerk, we would like to offer our thanks for all the assistance and the advice that we get from the Clerk. It is essential to what we do and we thank you for it.

To Lewis and the attendants: thanks, guys, for what you do. Whether it is the quick refills of the glasses, or responding to the hasty, “I need a sharpened pencil or a black texta” through to “Can you get me a copy of that report that was delivered some months ago because I forgot and left it up in the office,” the attendants are always there, not just when we are sitting, with the courteous way they answer the phone on behalf of the Assembly, the way they greet people and get them to our offices, and make sure that we have what we need to do the job properly.

The same for the secretariat staff: we thank you for all the service that we get from the members of the secretariat. I am sure we are all grateful when the pay turns up on payday, through to all the assistance that we get for other matters. To the Hansard staff, who take down our words and who live up there in their black box and up on the second floor: we thank you for your work in keeping the record straight and for allowing us to settle our squabbles—and giving us things to eat later in the day, apparently.

To the library staff, who I think are often forgotten: I love the fact that we have a library here in the building. It is a fabulous resource, and they certainly look after us well. It is a service that I think could always be expanded. I remember the luxury days of a year at the federal parliamentary library, which is the library of all libraries in this country in terms of service and resource. It would be nice, Mr Speaker, to see the library get a little bit extra in the coming years, if that were possible.

For the committee office, it has been a bit of a year of hellos and goodbyes. We certainly farewelled Siobhan but we got Andrea in exchange, so welcome Andrea—and it is good to see Derek Abbott back, if only for a short while. It is nice to have your face around again, Derek. And congratulations to Robina on the promotion.

To all of my colleagues I would like to say thanks for a good year. We are certainly going to have a better year next year, and then the year after that, and the one after that. I give thanks to all the staff in the various offices for the work that they do in making the whole show run, particularly to my staff. To Alexis, Keith, Tim, Dinah and James: thanks very much for the way that you look after me. It is obvious, I think, to all of us

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