HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [6.20 pm]: I rise on behalf of the Greens to note the end of what has been an interesting term and a quite unprecedented and extraordinary year. Every year of this term, our members have taken turns to give the traditional Christmas greeting, and here I am doing so at the end of this term. I was concerned that members had not heard enough from me, so I am here to ensure that they get to hear more from me now!

I want to thank everyone in this chamber for their friendship, for being fun, frankly, and for an extraordinary time. I want to thank Hon Sue Ellery and Hon Stephen Dawson for their leadership in this place. I also want to thank the other parliamentary leaders: Hon Peter Collier, Hon Jacqui Boydell, Hon Colin Tincknell, Hon Aaron Stonehouse, Hon Rick Mazza and Hon Charles Smith. We have certainly attempted to make sure that communication was open and that the chamber could progress its business as effectively as possible.

It certainly has been a very challenging year for the community. I note that while people were talking about taking time out to learn how to make sourdough and to speak languages, we were working harder than ever. That is the thing that I think a lot of members of the public did not necessarily see. I note that federal Parliament was not meeting, so people presumed that we were not either, but we were working very hard during extended hours to try to ensure that we facilitated the necessary actions to address this unprecedented crisis of COVID-19.

Madam President, I would particularly like to thank you for the way that you, as the Presiding Officer, steered the chamber in responding to that and taking unprecedented action simply to make sure that this place, as our workplace, remained safe for us and all the staff. I echo the comments that have been made about you. I thank you for doing a marvellous job as President. I make it clear that the Greens hold you in the highest regard for the way that you have conducted yourself.

I also want to thank quite a number of people who help make this Parliament work. Madam President, you went through a lot of them, but I have to acknowledge the committee staff in particular, who make all of us look good. Let us be very clear: the committee staff are often the brains trust of a lot of the work that happens in this chamber. I want to thank them for their diligence and their commitment to excellence. Thank you so much.

My thanks also go to the parliamentary staff. Again, so many have already been listed, but I am talking about the dining room staff, the cleaning staff, the front desk staff, Building Services staff, the gardeners, the kitchen staff, the administrative staff, the IT staff and the human resources staff. The list is huge because so many people help to make sure that Parliament is a well-oiled machine.

I want to give a particular thanks to Enno Schijf, who has been extraordinarily helpful to me as I have hosted a number of functions throughout this term. Thank you to him. I also want to send a shout-out to Tony Paterson and his staff in security, who have gone over and above. I am very grateful to them for responding to concerns as they arose. All of this of course has happened under the very capable leadership of Rob Hunter. I particularly want to thank him for finally getting rid of those ridiculous sewerage pipes out the front of Parliament House, even though as the driver of a Mini, they made for a great little rally obstacle course! I do not think they really did this place any favours, so I am pleased that they are gone.

I also want to thank the staff in this chamber. You are all so professional and friendly, and incredibly helpful. I want to acknowledge our Clerk, Nigel Pratt. Thank you very much for your leadership and for being so accessible and helpful all the time.

I want to give a particular shout-out to the Hansard staff. The Hansard staff have a huge job keeping track of everything we say and, obviously, a lot of what I am saying in this place. I am quite sure that they go back to their offices and have quite a bit to say amongst themselves about the sorts of things that we say and do. I would like to point out to the Hansard staff that we note them as well. On this front bench—I particularly note Hon Samantha Rowe, Hon Darren West, Hon Tim Clifford and myself—we notice when you come in looking particularly good, wearing a particularly nice outfit, when your hair has been done and when you return from leave! We will often make comments amongst ourselves about how good particular Hansard people look on any particular day. By all means, I am sure that comments are made about us, but we are favourably commenting and noting you as well! I thought I would point that out.

I have had the privilege of being able to head up two parliamentary friendship groups. I acknowledge the Parliamentary Friends for Children co-leads Lisa Baker and Mia Davies, and in this place Hon Donna Faragher. I have headed up the Parliamentary Friends of Refugees with the honourable Janine Freeman. I would like to acknowledge her and her recent announcement that she will not be recontesting the next election. I want to thank all those members.

A bit closer to home: an enormous thanks to all the Greens staff in all of our offices. They work so hard and they work over and above. They are absolutely committed to what we stand for. I am forever grateful for what they do. I particularly want to acknowledge Jocasta, Kirsten, Arran, Piper, Tom and Jamnes from my office. All four of us would like to give a special shout-out and thanks to Tonia Brajcich who is our Whip’s clerk and research assistant. She is extraordinarily good and I thank her.

I want to thank my Greens colleagues. There are only four of us in this place but we try very hard to apply ourselves diligently to the work in this chamber. I particularly want to note Hon Robin Chapple who will not be recontesting the next election. Robin and I have been friends since about 1994, so we have known each other for a very long time. He has served in this chamber for a very long time. I am really glad that he is finally going to take some time to rest, although I really do not think he will be taking much of a rest from the issues that are core to his heart, particularly Aboriginal heritage. I want to thank him very much and acknowledge him.

For those members who celebrate Christmas—I am a person who celebrates Christmas with my family—I would like to wish you all a happy Christmas, otherwise happy Hanukkah, happy Gita Jayanti, happy Kwanzaa or happy Festivus, if that is your thing. Whatever it is, it is a time for us to be with loved ones and hopefully to be able to stay safe and have a little bit of a rest. Many of us are going into an election year. I hope people are kind. I hope too that people look after themselves. I will be attempting to hold on to my seat, as will my colleagues, and we are hoping to be joined by others. I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and wonderful holidays. Please stay safe.

Comments and speeches by various members

The PRESIDENT: Members, I wish you a very happy and safe Christmas and I will see you on the other side.


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