I too rise tonight to wish all the senators leaving good luck and good fortune in whatever lies ahead. But I did tonight particularly want to mention Senator Kroger, Senator Farrell and Senator Furner and speak to their leaving this place.
Senator Kroger, it has been a pleasure to work with you. We have worked together so well in PACAN as co-convenors. It is a great parliamentary friendship group to be involved in and over the years I think we have developed a really good working relationship in regards to it. You will be missed. Yes, I saw you to tip your hands there, motioning about having a little drink! We certainly will. I was trying to keep it a bit nice because you said there were some things I was not allowed to say tonight!
Also working with you in your whip position as a fairly new deputy whip has been great. You have been very easy to work with and very cooperative, so thank you for that. As I said, I will not say too much about what happened on the bus. What happens on the bus stays on the bus between those who were on the bus! A few around the chamber who were on the bus will know what that means. But I will look forward to seeing you in Melbourne, maybe with some red legs on at some stage. Thank you for being such a good person to work with.
I also wanted to mention Senator Farrell. He mentioned being a ‘faceless man’ in his speech. I was going to talk about that and say he is the most well-photographed faceless man I have ever seen! He is a great man. I have got to know Don really well since we have been here. He loves his family inordinately, and I know that one of his best prizes is that he is going to be a grandad soon. He is absolutely chafing at the bit for that to happen. I do hate to tell him it is not going to happen as quick as he wants, but it will happen around Christmas time. I am excited for him because of that.
I will not go into people’s work histories—they have already been spoken about tonight—but I do know that Don has always been passionate about improving the lives of workers and he has always worked hard for the people of South Australia. I do not know much about the Adelaide Crows, being a Tasmanian, but he assures me that they are the best team in South Australia and, as no-one has ever really tried to convince me otherwise, I will take his word on that. Both Senator Farrell and Senator Wong alluded to what happened in the last election that resulted in Senator Farrell having to leave this place. As someone who is fairly close to Senator Farrell, that was the time to see the character of a person come through. He did not grizzle and he did not complain. He copped it on the chin. He could have gone berserk in the media as other people do when they do not get what they want, but he did not do that. My dad always says it is not what happens to you but how you handle it that truly shows what your character is like, and in this case, Don, you have shown your character to be great, mate. I would like to thank him also for all the support and help he has given me over the six years I have been here. Senator Kroger, Senator Farrell, Senator Furner and I all came in together, and I would like to wish Don and Nimfa and their family all the best.
The last person I want to mention is Senator Furner. They say if you want a friend in politics you should get a dog. I should have called Senator Mark Furner ‘Fido’. He has been my best mate in this place, hands down. We entered parliament together, we had offices next to each other in the beginning—I think they moved us to separate us, to tell you the truth—we were on committees together, we spent a lot of time together, we know each other’s families. We could see tonight from his own speech what a wonderful sense of humour he has and what a warm person he is, and I will miss him enormously. There are some things we will always remember about him. We will always remember Drago and we will always remember, as Senator Polley alluded to, him grabbing questions if you sat anywhere near him. One day he grabbed my question and crumpled it up, and he did not give it back to me until right before I stood up so I had to quickly flatten it out so I could read it. He is a great community person. I say to him, thank you for your support and your friendship, helping me to learn the ropes. It certainly helped to have someone I could get on with so easily, too. He is a great family man to Lorraine and the kids, and especially to Xavia and Marley, his two beautiful grandchildren. I hope they get to see Grandad a bit more—I know he has always missed you when he has been down here. I hope the family does well, and I hope the Senate’s loss will be a Queensland Labor government’s gain. Good luck to everyone.