Page 2361 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013

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As to the Senate, Zed will be a great boost to the Liberal cause in that place. The pre-selection was tough. I think all federal politicians have a story to tell with regard to their pre-selections, but Zed has a classic one. The party is better off as a result of that stoush over the last few months, and so will be the nation’s Senate. I predict the Liberals will receive a strong positive swing in the upper house here in the ACT.

I would like to thank you, Zed, for the leadership, the counsel and the political support to me and to your colleagues. The new opportunities that present here in the Assembly and in the federal parliament we hope will be for the best. Madam Speaker, I know you have been as strong and as loyal a friend to Zed as one can be in politics. Whilst it is very hard for you to say much from that chair in this place, I know you would want to have on the record your admiration and your support for Zed as well. Thank you.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education), by leave: I am pleased to rise on behalf of the government for one last response to Mr Seselja and to place on the record my acknowledgement of his service to the Assembly and his representation of the community since 2004. In doing so I echo the gracious comments Mr Seselja made when John Hargreaves retired in August last year—this place will not be the same without him. Having been here for the duration of Mr Seselja’s Assembly career I have heard all of his best speeches. Some of them I have heard many times over. Perhaps a valedictory from a Liberal member is one of the best ones from our side of the chamber you can hear.

I pay tribute to Mr Seselja as a strong political opponent and his contributions to the life of the Assembly as a shadow minister and opposition leader over three terms. Despite our differences, Mr Seselja and I share the understanding that election to any parliament is an honour and a privilege; a position of trust that has to be earned and worked hard for. I believe we also share the view that political contest, the contest of ideas, is a fundamental requirement for a healthy parliamentary democracy. I am sure Mr Seselja will take these values to the Senate, if he is successful in the September election.

On that note I urge Mr Seselja as a potential senator and member of a potential government to be a strong voice for Canberra within the federal Liberal Party. There are some core issues for our city, for any city, that ought to sit above politics. Canberra deserves to be treated with respect and with fairness in both the political debate and in the policies of a federal government. We are an Australian community like any other, and I hope Mr Seselja will use his powers of persuasion—very strong powers of persuasion—to remind some of his new colleagues of this.

I want to wish Mr Seselja, his wife, Ros, and their children all the best for the future. I remind him to fill out his last time sheet before leaving next Tuesday, and I look forward to continuing our ongoing contest of ideas, albeit outside the walls of this chamber. Perhaps, on occasion, we may even be on the same page, driven by our love for this city. Farewell from the Assembly, Mr Seselja.

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