I also rise to speak, and it gives me great pleasure, to acknowledge Senator Nick Sherry’s enormous contribution to the Senate, to the Australian Labor Party and to our nation. As has been mentioned, we are bit short of time, Nick, so I will be a lot shorter than I intended to be but no less sincere, mate, as you know. You and I have known each other a very long time. We have had some really good times together and we have been through some adversity separately but always supported each other. To me, that has always been really important.
There is no doubting that you made a substantial contribution to Australia through your Senate career. I consider your retirement to be a great loss to the parliament, to the Labor Party, as I said, and to the state of Tasmania, which all of the rest of the Tasmanian senators and members think is such a great place. I appreciate that you have been in politics for a long time and that you do think there is probably another life, and that you have earned the right to do something for yourself. If you accept the conjecture that years in politics are like dog years then, Nick, you have been here for over a century. That is just a little thought to go away with.
While you are stepping away from politics I hope that, whatever you choose to do, the Labor Party will still have the benefit of your counsel. Whatever you choose to do beyond your career in the Senate, I will know that you have so much to offer. I truly wish you well. I wish you well in spending more time with your beautiful three children who I have had a lot to do with over the time—Mia, Alex and Sasha are lovely kids, beautiful kids. I know they are at the centre of your heart and I do wish you well in being able to spend more time with them. We all appreciate what people with children give up, as you mentioned.
You have been a great friend to me over many years—decades, in fact. You have been a wise counsel to me personally on many occasions and I thank you for that. We have had some good times and some laughs, but I do not think I will ever forgive you for the day I travelled up to the north-west coast to do some doorknocking with you. It was absolutely pouring buckets. I was there with an umbrella and a coat and a clipboard. We doorknocked Wivenhoe and I thought, ‘I know I have come a long way and I am only here for one day but, really, if I get sick from this I will not be a happy woman.’
There is one, last really serious message I need to give you, Nick. It is something I have been nagging you about for many years. I am sure you know what it is: Nick, give up the cigarettes, mate. Give up the cigarettes. You are not doing anyone any favours, including your beautiful children. I did notice you did not cough through your farewell speech and I wondered if you had actually cut back a bit. I hope so but I do want you to give them up. As I said, enjoy your time with Mia, Alex and Sasha—beautiful children. There is no doubt that they deserve to have some time with you as well. All the best.