Page 1859 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 5 May 2009

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I recall well the attention to detail that John would always bring to the task of legislation and the preparation of legislation. It was no surprise to me when John left the role of formal legal officer in a line department to join the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office within the Attorney-General’s Department as a draftsman. It was a career line which I did not quite understand. I did not have the same fascination with it.

It is interesting in relation to any career pursuit to understand what others see as a deep fascination in a particular art or craft that perhaps is just not evident to others. John left general legal advising and general legal work to become a specialist at Parliamentary Counsel. I think the fact that he pursued that career through the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and the Office of Regulations to accept the position in the ACT over 20 years ago and to rise through that to head the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in one of the Australian jurisdictions is a fantastic achievement by a totally, thoroughly professional public servant. He is a public servant of the first order who in all of his dealings, and I think that is reflected in the presentations that have been made today, personifies everything about what it is to be a truly professional public servant in the true meaning of a professional public servant and public service.

He has a record of achievement not just over his 20 years as a senior drafter within the ACT Office of Parliamentary Counsel but prior to that within the commonwealth. It is a 20-year career with the commonwealth followed by a 20-year drafting career here in the territory. As each of the other three speakers to this tribute to John have indicated, he is a person whose touch might appear to be light. In many respects it is a touch that we do not acknowledge. However, he is somebody who can claim justifiably to have touched every single piece of legislation drafted or presented in this place over the last 22 years.

This is a very significant contribution. It is a contribution not just to the law and to the operation of this community but, indeed, to the establishment of this parliament and to the continuing strength of this democracy, which at one level is measured through the quality of its legislation and its legislative processes.

I wish John, his wife Dianne and his children and grandchildren all the best for the future. It has been a career that John has pursued with singular achievement, professionalism and integrity. John has a work ethic and a level of integrity and productivity of the highest standard. Congratulations to John Clifford on an outstanding career and all the best for the future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Standing and temporary orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent:

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