Retirement of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and Clerk of the Parliaments

Thursday 24th June 2017

It is a pleasure to join this debate, and not because you are going, Ray, but because I want to say a few words of appreciation.

On behalf of The Nationals, particularly myself but also previous leaders, which include Peter Ross‑Edwards, Pat McNamara and Peter Ryan, thank you very much for all the assistance that you have given us as leaders and as a party over your time in this particular place.

I note some of the committees that you actually served on before you took on the current role.

When I looked at that I noted particularly the Salinity Committee.

As someone who comes from Tongala, and as I understand it Kaye comes from Lockington, no doubt you would have had a personal interest in the work of that committee because at that particular time salinity was the scourge of the north.

Through some timely government intervention, and I think some substantial changes in farming practices and technologies, salinity is not the issue it was when that committee was working.

I am sure through that and through your time on the Public Accounts and Expenditure Review Committee you would have seen a lot of things happen in this Parliament and had a hand in actually producing those reports that led to positive change.

I know you cannot talk about your time on the Privileges Committee, as none of us can, but I am sure you would have found that a fascinating process as well. So thank you for all that.

On the issue of 2000 question times, I may be reporting it wrongly but it has been said that you have told someone jokingly that you developed the habit of being able to sleep with your eyes open through question time.

Now, I may be being unfair in quoting that, but I am reliably informed you have said that.

It is effectively 2000 editions of probably one of the worst reality TV shows you would ever see. You have been a tower of strength and a source of unbiased advice to all of us through that time.

A lot of people have already talked about the fact that they cannot understand the connection between flying a light aircraft and bowls.

I think there are a lot of similarities. I know from my time with one of my older friends in Boort that committee selection for the pennant team of the Boort Bowls Club was the most brutal experience that anyone could ever have. With that pennant team, who got in it and who got dropped was more dangerous than flying a light plane and was the talk of the town for a long time. So if you are planning on playing pennant, you will just need to toughen up for that whole selection process.

When I first came here one of the jobs I got was working on what offices the MPs got, as we always do after an election.

Being a Johnny‑come‑lately, I said, ‘Well, that area up there near the National Party room would make a great spot to put all the National Party members and keep us all together’.

Judy Maddigan, as the then Speaker, pointed out to me, ‘You guys come into Parliament about 20 weeks of the year. The Clerks are there all year. You’ve got absolutely no hope of moving any of those people out of those offices’.

I did ring Peter Lochert about something else this week, and he said, ‘Ah, you’re here to talk about Ray’s office, are you — you’re ready to move?’. But I am sure Bridget, as the Acting Clerk, has already packed her boxes to move into that particular office.

Thank you very much. One last thing to finish on: looking at the photos as we went to the afternoon tea, with the wigs on the Presiding Officers, my advice to whoever is applying for the job is that if they say they are all in favour of bringing back the wigs, I think that would be a real winner in the interview process!

So whoever wants to take that on board, they can. Ray, on behalf of all of us, but particularly on behalf of the National Party and all our predecessors in this place, thank you very much for your assistance and advice over what has been a very sustained effort for the Parliament. Thank you.


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