Page 4959 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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the minister does not always work. They shouted at me, I think, probably 75 per cent of post question time periods in the last year. I say to my staff: it was a fat lot of use, so I would not bother to waste your time next year.

No ministerial office can function without the support of DLOs and I have been blessed with the services of David, Matthew, Emma, Melissa, and Cathy and Ashley earlier in the year. They are magic people. People who wander the halls for something to do will notice a lot of laughter coming out of my office. That is because they are a magic bunch of people, and we do get a great laugh. I would like also to congratulate my departments and send to all the chief executives—Sandra Lambert, Mike Zissler, Peter Dunn and Audrey Fagan—my absolute gratitude. They are a fine bunch of professionals, and Canberra is all the better off for their service.

I would like to say thanks very much to the attendants this last year. How they sat through a whole year with a straight face is absolutely beyond me. I congratulate them for their professionalism, and I will try to do better for you next year. To the chamber support, Hansard, the library, Ray and Barry, the committee office, and, of course, the Assembly’s corporate support, I say thank you very much for everything that you have done this last year. You have kept the high jump bar very high in the sky as far as I am concerned—very professional.

To the media, I also appreciate the fair and unbiased way in which you reported last year. I must admit I got confused between fifth columnists and fourth estate there for a while. But I think we will settle on fourth estate.

I would like, finally, to express publicly my gratitude to my wife, Jen, for putting up with some unseemly words during the year and for trying her best to keep me on the straight and narrow and, most importantly, as all of my colleagues would know with their wives, for her unswerving support for me in what can be sometimes a very difficult job.

To everybody: have a lovely time over the break with your families and your friends and let us come back next year, do some serious work and have a few laughs.

Mr Burke—personal attacks


MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (5.11): Mr Speaker, it is with some regret and disappointment, but very necessary, that I stand at the close of this Assembly this year to raise a very serious issue. At the heart of this issue is the matter of personal attacks in this place on my husband. Sadly, I must use this time now to stand to defend my husband’s honour, simply because he has been refused a citizen’s right of reply in this place. He has had to endure some of the most harsh, outrageous, vitriolic and scandalous attacks directed towards him in relation to his time as director of a cleaning business he once owned, Endoxos Pty Ltd.

It has been very disappointing to witness, not just this year but for the last four years, severe attacks on his integrity and credibility as a human being, as an employer, as a person who always tried to do the very best for the hundreds of people he has employed over the last 19 years, and of course as my husband. We have both endured numerous disgraceful verbal attacks upon us in this place and, more widely, through union

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