Page 447 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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the significant role and importance of the role that our families play in allowing us to perform the duties that we perform of community service.

Mr Speaker, best wishes to you. To everybody, have a great break. I think we have all earned it. Personally, I am having a couple of weeks off, which I am looking forward to almost desperately just at the moment. Good luck to everybody. I look forward to continuing our relationships in the new year. Good luck.


MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.32): I thank Mr Stanhope for his words. I particularly wish him well for his couple of weeks off. I will be sure not to call it six weeks. But I would like to take the opportunity to wish Mr Stanhope, all of the Labor team, Ms Hunter and all the Greens, Mr Speaker, to you in particular, and to each of my colleagues here, a very merry Christmas and a good break.

It has been a big year. There is no doubt about it. And I think all of us have earned a bit of a break. We have certainly enjoyed much of the year, and I think we have in this sitting week particularly enjoyed having all of the new members here, all eight of them. We have enjoyed, in particular, our three new Liberal colleagues who I think are going to make a fantastic contribution and we are very much looking forward to the contribution that they will make in the new year and in the next four years.

This is a new Assembly and we are all getting used to that. We are all enjoying, I suppose, just sizing each other up and sizing up the new situation that is presented. But as we approach Christmas, particularly in an election year, we will appreciate the ability to have a bit of time with the family. I will enjoy spending time with my young children, particularly my youngest daughter. When we have the early mornings and the late nights I can sometimes go two or three days without really seeing her and that is always the hardest. So I am looking forward to that.

To each of my colleagues I would say: have a good break. I note particularly that the new ones are less likely to want to take time off—they are keen to stay around in January when most people will be down the coast—but I do wish each of you well. I am very pleased with the contribution you are already making to our Assembly team here in the Liberal Party.

To all of my staff: you have done an extraordinary job during this year. I pay tribute particularly to Stephen Doyle, my chief of staff, and to Ian Hagan, to Tio Faulkner and to others who have left us, including Daniel Clode, and Maria Violi and Keith Old in my office. They have done a mountain of work this year, it must be said—an absolute mountain of work. Some of them literally worked above 90 and 100-hour weeks on a regular basis during the campaign and that takes its toll. I think each of them deserves a break and, as I say to my chief of staff, he eventually does have to take a break before he kills himself.

I would also say to the chamber staff, to the Clerk’s Office, to the attendants and to all of those who look after us: we are very grateful always for the professionalism and for the service you provide to the Assembly and to each of us. And to my constituents in Molonglo, once again I put on record my grateful thanks for being re-elected. I look

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