Page 4001 - Week 10 - Thursday, 28 August 2008

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MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (7.58): I think I take the role of being the last but not least in the debate. Having served in this place for the shortest time of all of you, can I say that it has been a great pleasure to have had the honour of representing the electorate of Molonglo and to be part of a Labor government. I cannot think of any higher honour than being an education minister in a Labor government. I would like particularly to thank my colleagues for the trust they put in me in elevating me directly to the ministry from day one. That was quite a leap of faith that they took but I thank them very much for the vote of confidence at that time.

I would like particularly to acknowledge those members who are leaving us this term and to thank them for their contribution. To you, Mr Speaker, to Ms MacDonald, to Mr Stefaniak and to Dr Foskey, I say thank you very much for your contribution. It has been great fun working with all of you. From my very first question time as a very nervous minister, through my first estimates and all of those processes, you have been tough but fair, it would be fair to say, and I thank you for that.

Many have commented on the importance of staff and I cannot help agreeing. I think I have been blessed by having one of the best offices in the Assembly. A number of them are sitting here, and it has been a great pleasure to work with them all. I thank my current staff—Liz, Paul, Ryan, Pierre, Luke, Tracey, Chris and Anya, and DLOs Marianne, Clinton and Geoff. To the staff who have worked with me over the time I have been here—Dave, Matt, Nicky, Cathy, Aleera and John—I thank them very much.

I thank all the Assembly staff for their contribution and for making our jobs just that little bit easier. Let me say that it does not go unnoticed. It has also been a great pleasure to work with the many departmental staff that I have had in my time as a minister for many different portfolios. I have met some fantastic people who are truly dedicated to achieving a much better outcome for the people of Canberra.

I would also like to thank my partner, Anthony. He has not seen that much of me in the last 2½ years, it would be fair to say. I am going to embarrass him a little because he may be at home streaming this on the internet at the moment. That is one of the ways that he follows what I am up to. I will come home sometimes after midnight and find that he has been streaming this place and listening, and I think, “Oh, dear me; I am leaving you home alone and this is not fair.” He does, from time to time, put up with arriving at functions and being seated in Mrs Barr’s seat. I know that initially that took a little bit of getting used to but he handles it with very good grace and I thank him very much for his support. I could not do the job I do without his support and it is just terrific. Whilst I probably will not see that much of him for the next 60 days, we are certainly planning, regardless of what happens in October, to get some time together, and I very much look forward to that.

I just have one final wish: regardless of what happens in the election, if I do have the great pleasure of coming back to this place in November, I hope to come back having seen a Hawthorn premiership. I have to admit that I am going to take a day off during

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