Page 4487 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (6.12): I thank the Chief Minister for her kind remarks and I look forward to seeing the turkey police out there. First I want to thank you, Madam Speaker, for your service to the Assembly this year. You are undoubtedly fair and balanced. Sometimes I do not like that, but I thank you for it. You have brought great authority to the role as Speaker. I wish you could be a little bit less fair and balanced sometimes, but I accept that your rulings are always accurate.

To my team, thank you very much for the opportunity to lead the Canberra Liberals. It is a great honour, it is a great privilege, and I am humbled. As I have said before in this place many times, it is a great team. I think the diversity, the enthusiasm, the professionalism, is outstanding. We have grown as a team this year and are performing our role exceptionally well as a very capable and competent opposition in the ACT. I look forward to continuing that with the team in the years ahead.

To my staff, when you are in opposition—which is something that a number of those opposite have not had the pleasure of—you find that you have to find quality because you do not have quantity. Oppositions run a little bit on the smell of an oily rag, like an insurgency. We have the highest quality staff, and I am very, very pleased with the work they have done and the great dedication they have shown to the Assembly in supporting the MLAs. I particularly mention my staff: the chief of staff, Ian Hagan, is worthy of particular note. His contribution in terms of what he has delivered to the whole team has been absolutely outstanding. He is very much someone that stays in the back rooms working very hard, but I would like to—and I am sure all of us would feel the same way—acknowledge his contribution to our team.

To Neil Hermes, Joe Prevedello, Chris Inglis, Tio, who now works in my office, Jessica Hynson, my very hardworking PA, and to Juliet Toohey and Emily Davis who have escaped up on to the hill and are now providing service to members up there, thank you to you all.

I say thank you, also, to all the hardworking ACT public servants, particularly those who will be working hard over Christmas while we are enjoying a break—the staff in health and emergency services, the front-line staff and, indeed, all of the administrative staff working over the Christmas period. As much as the Chief Minister in her stump speech will say that we are just criticising the staff, let me assure you that that is not the case.

To our adversaries over there on the other side, Chief Minister and your team, I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the festivities ahead, and also to Shane Rattenbury. A particular mention to my new boot camp colleague, Simon Corbell. As many of you would be aware, we now do boot camp together. We have not yet sparred—the rest of the boot camp team are looking forward to us putting the gloves on. But it has inspired me to lift the heavier kettle bells, to run a little bit faster, never to be beaten by Simon Corbell.

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