Page 3989 - Week 10 - Thursday, 28 August 2008

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I could dwell on the many sagas that I have witnessed since my election or have been part of since that time, but it would serve little purpose in this place. Throughout my career, and this period has been no exception, I have maintained a high standard of ethical behaviour and I sleep easy at night because of that. I have not been reluctant to express my views, my beliefs and my philosophy when it comes to the style of administration or legislation we should have in this territory. There will be no ducking and weaving on my part. If that sometimes makes me unpopular, then so be it.

I had some feedback from some prominent Liberals before the last election who said I would never be elected because I was too conservative. Well, I topped the poll for the Liberals against all predictions by from the so-called experts and became the 50th member elected to this place since self-government was granted. I think a large number of electors knew that I did bring a set of skills to this place and had firm beliefs on a range of matters.

With around 40 years involvement in politics I have developed a firm view that adhering to your beliefs, even when they are not always popular, will earn respect, even from your opponents. As I said last night to the Chief Minister, an abiding feature of my dealings with John Howard when he was Prime Minister was that you knew where he stood on issues, and that is something you must respect even when you hold a different view on a particular issue.

In the time remaining, I want to place on record my appreciation to staff and officials in the Legislative Assembly. I thank the Clerk in particular for his professional and impartial advice on many issues. I thank Mr Duckworth, who endures much grief from members and staff, but diligently undertakes the task of protecting taxpayers’ dollars, which is something I must support and always encourage. I tried to make part of his task easier with a submission to the remuneration tribunal but have not succeeded to date on that issue.

I particularly want to single out the attendants, who not only have repeated daily and helpful dealings with each of us and our staff, but add a little levity to an environment that often seems more grim than cheerful. I thank them for that.

I also want to thank my staff; those who have worked with me since my election in 2004, especially Ian Wearing, Felicity Williams and Damian Hickey, and my current team, headed up by Robert Ayling, who is an incredibly dedicated and able political strategist for one so young. I think Mr Seselja talked about the hours his staff worked. Someone in the government said last night that there were two people they see constantly here at bizarre hours, and one of them is Rob Ayling. He does an extraordinary job on my behalf and on behalf of the people who elected me.

He is ably supported by Ben O’Neill, who is a father of two but is also a candidate for the current elections. He is without doubt one of the most brilliant people who has ever worked in my office, here or in any other organisation. Hopefully, as an elected representative, he will become a great asset to the people of Canberra.

I also want to thank the remaining staff: Sascha Bryl, Tim Moss and Mishu Rahman, all of whom work feverishly on my behalf. And I want to thank the media for their ongoing interest in my perspective.

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