Tuesday 11 August 2020
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Australian PM - 1 month ago

2018 Valedictory

Mr Morrison: (Cook—Prime Minister) (15:44): Well, ho, ho, ho, Mr Speaker! It has been quite a year for all of us—for every single member of this House and the other place. All of us have the opportunity to serve here because of the great love and affection that comes from our families, and when we leave this place we will go and be with them. We will have the opportunity to spend the most joyous time of the year with them and be with our families for Christmas and New Year s and share stories, experiences of the year and our reflections, but, most of all, just hold each other in our arms. It will give us an extra opportunity, as we go into next year, to remember those fond times that we have had over the Christmas break. I particularly want to be mindful of those who will not have such a merry Christmas and those who will be under great stress and strain, because I must reflect on the fact that the issue this year that I believe was most penetrating, most humbling and most significant was the day we stood in this place and offered the national apology to the victims of sexual abuse. It was a day that I think the Leader of the Opposition and I will certainly never forget, and I hope it s a day that those who suffered that abuse will also never forget. It can t change what happened. As they go through their Christmas and holiday period, there won t be the same warm smiles for many of them. There will be the same confusion. There ll be the same sense of hurt and damage and things that they will never feel they can get over. So I would suggest that, as we go off to our break and spend our time with our families once again, we think of them and think of what they re going through over these periods, because we know that, at Christmas and holiday periods, for those of us who are blessed—as I have been with Jen and the girls and a wonderful family—this is the most joyous time of the year. For others it s a time of terrible isolation, a reminder of the things that really make life so hard for them. That s why I m so thankful for the services, like Lifeline and others, who will be there for them and who will be turning out and volunteering on Christmas Day all around the country and serving Christmas cheer to others. Christmas is a religious season. It is a reminder of our Lord who came into this place and brought new hope but, most of all, a message of love. In that message of love, there are so many Australians who take the opportunity—and God bless them for doing it—to go out there and extend that love and care to their fellow Australians and try to ease what might otherwise be an even more difficult day. So we thank those volunteers who will be doing that this Christmas, and we thank them for doing it each and every day of the year. We hope that, through their comfort, they will bring some measure of joy to others over the Christmas period. I also thank all of those of our Defence Force who will be serving far away from this place—and, indeed, here in our own country—and will be away from their families. They might be at sea. They might be serving in Afghanistan or other places in peacekeeping missions around the world. We are mindful of the service and the sacrifice that they are making on our behalf, and we send them our best. We will always seek to do our best for them in this place and at every opportunity we have. We think of those who are serving as volunteers on our beaches, in the rural fire services and those out there caring for our community over the holiday season. With the fires still burning up in Queensland, thankfully, their intensity has diminished. Just during question time I received advice that there are fires burning in South Australia right now. The warnings have not escalated to a high level at this point, but it s just a reminder. As I ve said in this place, we are going into one of the most difficult fire seasons for many, many years. So, as we go around the many Christmas events and other things we will have in our electorates and communities over the next few weeks, all of us will have the opportunity to remind fellow Australians to have those conversations as communities and families and at the street parties to say: how will we work to what will we do? Make sure that the first conversation you have about evacuation or responding to an emergency is not when it s happening for real and you have to make those choices. I would encourage all of us to be out there carrying that message to everyone over this Christmas season. Whether it s our police officers, our firefighters, our nurses, our doctors or others who will be out there providing care, we thank them all for their service over the course of the last 12 months. They are called to do what they do in their vocations, as we do here, and we thank them for the great work they do. I extend to the Leader of the Opposition, his family and his wife, Chloe, all the best for the Christmas period. I hope they have a great break. I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his personal kindnesses to Jenny and me. And I thank Chloe for her kindnesses to J they are able to take refuge in each other s company on occasion when we are attending various events. We appreciate them and we wish them all the best. And I extend that to all the members of the opposition and, of course, all the members of my own wonderful team on this side of the House. I also extend it to the Leader of the National Party and to the Treasurer, as well as to Senator McKenzie, the Deputy Leader of the National Party in the other place. To the Leader of the House—what would we do without the Leader of the House! He completely embodies a sense of Christmas cheer and is an adornment to the House—I wish you and your family all the best for Christmas. To the leadership in the Senate—Senator Cormann and Senator Birmingham—and to Senator Wong and the team in the Senate, I wish you all the best for your year. I thank very much the Chief Government Whip and the deputy whips. Well done, whips, for working so well together with the whips from the opposition and ensuring we get about our business and work through the important work of the parliament. I thank the Clerk of the House, David Elder, and all of your team—the deputy clerk, Claressa Surtees, and the clerk assistants. I thank the Serjeant-at-Arms, James Catchpole, and his team for the work they do. I thank the House Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Anne Dowd, and her colleagues Luke Bulow and Tim Moore. From my own department, I thank Secretary Parkinson and all of his team—as I m sure my colleagues in the executive would want to thank all of their department secretaries and all of those who work principally here and in and around Canberra. As a result of the policies of our government, a lot of them are working outside of Canberra these days, which is a good thing. I wish all of them the best for Christmas and I hope they can enjoy their time off so they can return refreshed for what will be a very busy year next year. I also thank all of our staff. We had the opportunity last night as a coalition to thank all of our staff for their great work. I thank the attendants of this place. I thank the Federal Police and the security and support staff who look after us all and keep us safe. In my own office we have three cleaners—Lucia, Anna and Maria—who would be known to most people around this building because they ve been here a very long time. Anna and Maria are sisters, and they have worked in the PMO since Prime Minister Hawke. They are loud and joyous and wonderful, and there is bipartisan agreement that we love them very much. Ms Plibersek interjecting— Mr Morrison: I ve got to note the interjection from the member for Sydney. Seriously, can you leave it alone when I m trying to thank them? It s the valedictories, for goodness sake! Just put it aside for five minutes. Ms Plibersek interjecting— The Speaker: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition! Mr Morrison: I was just about to say, Mr Speaker, that earlier this week they lost their mother. I know we would all like to send our love and prayers to two sisters who have become part of the soul of this building. To them we extend our condolences, and our thoughts are with them at a difficult time. I want to pay tribute also to Laura Gillies, who is the executive assistant to the Serjeant-at-Arms. Laura is about to retire. She has worked for the Department of the House of Representatives for over 33 years. She joined the service of the parliament in Old Parliament House when Bob Hawke was Prime Minister. She has seen everything in this building—and she has seen a lot over the last 10 years! On behalf of the government, I thank you for your service to Australia. Christmas is a very joyous time, and we know it can be tough for many others. Those who it will be particularly tough for—as it has been for many years now, particularly in Queensland—are the communities that have been affected by drought. Whether up in Quilpie—and the Tullys—or anywhere else across the country, I think one of the most generous things we ve seen from fellow Australians this year is the way that they, whether they re schoolchildren or seniors groups, have reached out and wanted to help our rural and regional communities, our farmers. And it is not just the farms but the communities, the shops, those who work in the schools. For all of those communities, Australians reached out and had their back this year. We re very pleased to be doing many things to help and support them at this time, but we pray that they ll have a wonderful Christmas, and I ll certainly continue to pray for rain for them. I suspect that would be a great Christmas prayer, as people go about their Christmas Day, that day of religious celebration. I think it would be a wonderful thing for the nation to join and pray for rain. Mr Speaker, may I wish you also a wonderful Christmas, and your lovely family. We ll look forward to working together again next year as part of your parliamentary family you preside over— An honourable member: With great distinction! Mr Morrison: Yes, with great distinction and— Mr Frydenberg: Great poise. Mr Morrison: Great poise—yes, thank you, Treasurer—but also a great sense of spirit and a sense of humour, which I m sure is well received by those who look in on these broadcasts. You very much are in control of this House, Mr Speaker, and we commend you for the way that you ve done that, with great integrity. You really do bring a great authority to this House, and the House is incredibly well served by you. So, to all colleagues, I again extend my best wishes, from Jenny and I and our family, and may God bless you and yours. The speaker: I thank the Prime Minister. The Leader of the Opposition on indulgence.

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