Seasonal felicitations

17th November 2016

Mr GREG P IPER ( Lake Macquarie ) ( 17:54 :26 ): In the spirit of converting this adversarial Chamber into a harmonious and joyous place, I too wish to provide Christmas felicitations to the many people who have been critical to my ability to do the job of representing the people of Lake Macquarie in this Parliament and those people who, by their nature, have made performing the role easier and often more enjoyable. I have to start with a call-out to the residents of Lake Macquarie, who by definition make my job what it is. I am very proud to serve the people and communities of Lake Macquarie and I truly hope and wish for them that they all have the best Christmas and New Year season possible.

I believe crossbench members have had a good year. I am proud to be able to sit with the members representing the electorates of Balmain, Newtown and Ballina, who are such effective representatives for their communities and their party. My Independent colleague and Speaker's pet, the member for Sydney, cannot go unmentioned. I have a good friendship with Alex and his research officer, Tammie Nardone, which certainly makes parliamentary life that much better. As a matter of fact, Alex has asked that I provide thanks and appreciation to all members and staff on his behalf. We both want to acknowledge the assistance we receive from and friendships we have with members of both the Government and the Labor Opposition. I thank them sincerely.

The parliamentary staff are fantastic in assisting the public and members. I always enjoy catching a quick conversation with Ian, Ian, Lynne, April, Danny, Chris and Peter. I would also like to recognise the assistance and advice from the Clerks, including of course the recently retired Clerk, Ronda Miller. Helen Minnican in her role as Acting Clerk, Catherine Watson, Rachel Simpson, Les Gönye and all the staff in that area are always most helpful and I thank them for that. Hansard, as most if not all members have said, deserve a special mention for the amazing job they do in making everybody sound good. It never ceases to amaze me that they can somehow derive some sense from the noise of the Chamber during the more boisterous debates, particularly in question time. Parliamentary services staff throughout the Parliament do a wonderful job as well. To those who keep the building tidy, catered and secure, thank you.

The Government has been always willing to give assistance with advice, even if not with a positive answer to a request. I appreciate the access given to me by Ministers and I thank their staff, whom I find to be invariably helpful. The Premier and former Deputy Premier, Troy Grant, have been very fair in their dealings with me. I thank them and their staff, with particular thanks to the Premier's chief of staff, Bay Warburton. The Government has inarguably, whether we like it or not, maintained a cracking pace during this year. I am sure that the Premier and Ministers along with their families will be looking forward to their Christmas break. I give particular congratulations to one man who I think will be working quite a bit over the Christmas break and that is the new Deputy Premier, John Barilaro. He will no doubt take to the job like a fish to water.

In closing I give special mention to my team who do such a fantastic job of assisting members of our community and making me look good—well, as good as they can. Dianne Sykes, my office manager of almost 10 years, continues to keep things running smoothly but of course not without the help of Belinda Harvey and my research officer of almost a year, Jason Gordon. I am also assisted by Deborah Dennis, Kelly Hoare and Madeleine Bond. They all do a fantastic job and there is no doubt I should let them know that more often. It would be remiss of me to not mention the Government Whip, the member for Camden, Chris Patterson—everybody's mate. Chris has not changed much since we shared a thin wall on level 10. Even with the weight of office, I generally find him to still be a good bloke. Thank you for your help to me and the crossbench in general.

I also thank the staff in the Government Whip's office, including Alex Carne and Rebecca Cartwright. I thank the Speaker, Shelley Hancock, and her staff for their assistance and goodwill to the crossbench—we are possibly the most reasonable section of the Chamber so that goodwill is understandable. I place on record once again my best wishes and thanks to the Speaker's former assistant, Joe Andrade. I hope he has a wonderful retirement. Joe was a great mate to me, and every member who knew him would say the same thing.

The Christmas season is a reminder to us all of the importance of goodwill, but particularly for those who need help and support 365 days a year. None of us could do this job without the support of family. I acknowledge the support I have been given by my family, in particular my wife, Lyn. The majority of members and staff that I deal with are people of goodwill. I wish them all the best for a relaxing and enjoyable time over the Christmas and New Year period.

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