Page 3985 - Week 10 - Thursday, 28 August 2008

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MR SESELJA: Pratty is just Pratty. I think that is the way to refer to him. I thank my colleagues for all of their hard work. I look forward to the coming weeks of the election campaign. We are very excited about it. I thank my staff in particular for the amazing work that they do. Some of my staff put in ridiculous hours—absolutely ridiculous hours—to get the job done. That does not go unappreciated by me or by my colleagues. I will not name them because I know that they hate being named, but they all know who they are. Well done.

To my constituents, the people of Molonglo who elected me, it has been a real honour to serve you over the last for years. I look forward to hopefully continuing to serve you and looking to work always for the betterment of the people of Molonglo, but also all the people of Canberra. That is why we come into this place—to make a difference.

We look forward hopefully to forming government after 18 October. It will be a challenge. It will be a tough election. We do not underestimate it, but we look forward to the challenge. I wish everyone well for the future. We look forward to the shape of the new Assembly after 18 October.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (7:01): I rise to express my appreciation to a number of people who have been part of my life here in the Assembly for the past 10½ years.

I have spent a quarter of my working life in this place, but I have never forgotten the immensity of the honour and the weight of responsibility given to me by the people of Brindabella. In my time here I have been a backbencher in opposition, a shadow minister, a committee chair, a government whip and a minister. I am acutely aware of and humbled by the opportunities which have come my way and am grateful beyond words.

I thank all the Assembly staff. I will not single out anyone, but thanks to you all. You are all fantastic. I lied. I want to single out Ray Blundell. You might all remember the time when the Gungahlin Drive extension was the subject of protests by those people from O’Connor. They came in the doors here. The attendants leapt to the defence of the members and carted the protesters off into the mulga. I was up in that black box, watching down, quivering and shaking in my boots. Then they yelled out, “Save the ridge! Save the ridge!” The attendants grabbed them and threw them out. I looked at Ray. He looked at me and he said, “What is this save the fridge business?” I have to tell you, colleagues, that the fridge is safe and it is still there under his guardianship.

I will single out the attendants. I will not talk about St Kilda supporters, because you do not. In polite company you do not. Collingwood people do not talk about 1966 in public any more. But I think I do need to say a big thank you to the attendants. Sometimes they are the difference between depression and sanity in this place, and only we know which of the two applies.

A member tries to deliver a service to the electorate and to Canberra generally to the best of his or her ability. I know that I could not have done anything without my staff.

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