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Christmas Felicitations

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-138091

Hansard session: Fifty-Eighth Parliament, First Session (58-1)

Christmas Felicitations

Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

Ms KOBI SHETTY (Balmain) (17:14:23):

I wish peace and happiness upon everyone throughout this festive period. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I start by thanking all of the staff who make this Parliament work, including those in Hansard; the Clerks; the Serjeant‑at‑Arms; the special constables; Parliamentary Counsel; the cleaners who look after our offices; maintenance staff, who have had quite a bit to do in our parliamentary office this year; electorate office services, who have been kept busy settling us into our lovely new office in the electorate of Balmain; everyone in catering who has keep us well fed; the amazing folks in the Library; members of the press gallery; Department of Parliamentary Services staff; and the Legislative Assembly staff.

I acknowledge my Greens colleagues in the upper House: Abigail, Amanda, Cate and Sue. I thank my colleagues in this House: the member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, and the member for Newtown, Jenny Leong. These women are tenacious, skilled and passionate and do a really remarkable job of representing their communities and their Greens values in this place. It is an absolute privilege to be among them. I also thank all of their staff, who are so generous with their time and expertise. As the first Greens MP to successfully retain a seat held by an outgoing Greens MP—indeed, what an excellent way to describe him, as an "outgoing" Greens MP—I thank the former member for Balmain, Jamie Parker, for all his help and support throughout my first year in this place.

I acknowledge and thank my staff, who have worked diligently throughout the year in helping me set up my office. We have really hit the ground running. Thank you to Ned, Anastasia and David, who have continued on in Balmain after working with Jamie Parker. Thank you to Lucy, who stayed on after working with me during the election before heading off to London to pursue a career as a rock star. Thank you to Rochelle, who recently joined us. What an impressive and supportive team. Thank you to all our short‑term relief staff, including Jen and Hamish, who have worked with us this year. All my staff have worked extremely hard to serve the people of the Balmain electorate. I know they will continue to do so. The workload afforded to staffers on the crossbench is significant, as all members know. I am sure all members will agree that our electorate office staff do an amazing job.

I thank all the members of the House—Government, Opposition, and my fantastic crossbench colleagues, including our excellent Speaker, the Hon. Greg Piper. Outside these walls, I acknowledge those who will not be getting a holiday this Christmas: our frontline workers and emergency services personnel. As a person whose dad worked as a firefighter, I remember many Christmases where we either had to get up super early to open our presents before he headed off to work for the day or endure an excruciating wait to come home from the night shift so that we could see what Santa had brought us. I thank all those people, who do a remarkable service for our State. We are so grateful to them.

I thank everyone in my community, none of whom are ever shy in their frank and fearless advice. I have one of the most active, engaged and informed constituencies, but also the most supportive. For that, I am grateful. Thank you for putting your trust in me to represent you in this place. I call out those in the community who have worked closely with my office on a range of issues this year, including the Friends of Callan Park, Stop Cruise Ship Pollution, Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle, the Glebe Society, Hands Off Glebe, the Taverners Hill working group, the Friends of Ultimo, the Pyrmont Peninsula Public Transport Forum, Balmain Rozelle Chamber of Commerce, Leichhardt Annandale Business Chamber, Residents for De-amalgamation, the Glebe art society, the Metropolitan Orchestra and, of course, City of Sydney councillor Sylvie Ellsmore and my colleagues on Inner West Council.

Finally, I thank my family for sharing me with the Balmain electorate. It has been a pretty interesting year for us while they have adjusted to having Mum in Parliament. It has been wonderful to have their support, particularly that of my amazing husband. Thank you for always having my back. I thank the House for the opportunity to deliver felicitations this year and wish all members a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2024.

Mr MICHAEL REGAN (Wakehurst) (17:18:21):

The festive season and summer break—or cricket season, as I know it—is just around the corner, thank God. I stand in this Chamber feeling incredibly thankful and reflective. It has been a crazy and busy experience—as it should be, and as I like it—but also extraordinarily humbling to come to this place as the Independent member for Wakehurst, an absolute newbie in this new Fifty‑Eighth Parliament. There is so much to be grateful for. On behalf of the electorate of Wakehurst and my team, I thank you all for welcoming us and putting up with my questions and my bad sense of humour. Importantly, I thank you for actively and willingly working with myself and the team. We are grateful and we continue to learn.

From the time I walk into Parliament, saying good morning to the special constables and attempting to make the attendants at the front desk laugh, no matter how early it is, until the time I walk out, it is an extraordinary privilege to be here. My mind is consistently blown away every single time. The Speaker and the member for Sydney, but particularly Greg, have been so willing to assist me and my team from the day I rang up and said, "Hi, I'm Michael Regan. Apparently I won the seat of Wakehurst." It has been quite the journey. You and your teams are amazing. We newbies are very grateful for the commitment you have made to help us to settle into and succeed in our new careers. I thank the Premier for his generosity of time and for setting up a system of cooperation that enables crossbench members to be heard.

To my handler—as I call him—Ron Hoenig, the member for Heffron and fellow emeritus mayor, thank you for your efforts in helping to educate and organise we newbies. Omar and Sachin are amazing and I thank them both for their efforts. To all the staff here who we work alongside, such as Helen and her team—even if Helen cannot get my name right—and those behind the scenes, we may only deal with you by email and over the phone but you are all extraordinarily amazing and hardworking people. The people of New South Wales are lucky to have such a team working here. And that was underlined for me this week with the very late nights and then back again for early starts. You are all amazing. Thank you.

I also thank my parliamentary colleagues, whether in government or Opposition, and my fellow crossbenchers in the nosebleed seats, it is so empowering to be in this place with you. Thank you for the time and attention you have all afforded to working with me. I look forward to our continuing collaboration, especially with Dr Joe in what we are doing and what we plan to do together. It has been good fun getting my head around some of those rural issues. I love my neighbours. I am surrounded by two brilliant MPs, Helen Dalton and Judy Hannan. They are amazing and I love their work. I am very proud and energised by the collaborative work we are doing—for example, in the domestic and family violence space. The public interest debate the other week that I was humbled to lead was a great reflection of what we can do together. Last night, just wow. Look at what we all did together—unanimously passed legislation to lock in meaningful net zero targets. We all played a role together in this place and the other place.

A massive thanks to my own team of staff and office volunteers this year: Ishbel and Suzie, who frequents this place with me. You two are formidable and amazing. I am proud to call you friends and colleagues. Gypsy, Vlad, Jules, Sally, Hanna, Nilmini, Stephen, Karen and Sean are amazing humans. The people of Wakehurst are lucky to have you. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do. Thank you for everything this year. Thank you also to the people of Wakehurst, one and all, your support, your ideas, your feedback and your energy are what drives us forward. Together, we are doing great things, and we will continue to do so. We will continue to ask for your assistance and feedback.

Here's to taking the spirit of togetherness into the new year. Let us keep making Wakehurst, and indeed all of New South Wales collectively, a top place to live. I finish by thanking my family, my two young adult boys—where has that time gone—and, of course, my amazing wife. Yes, she is the most extraordinary person alive. She does amazing things behind the scenes for our community. She also does a lot for me, for our family and for her family. We are very lucky to have her in our lives. I thank her for putting up with me and public life for 15 years. But certainly this new role is another crazy, strange and weird thing. Thank you, Bronwyn, you are amazing and I love you to bits. I finish with cheers everybody, wishing you all a great festive season and a ripper New Year. I can't wait for the new year.

Ms LIZA BUTLER (South Coast) (17:23:24):

On my first parliamentary Christmas I extend my thanks to so many people who have assisted me this past year. To the constituents of the South Coast, thank you for putting your trust in me and for giving me the privilege of working for you each and every day. It is a great honour to represent you in this place. But I could not do this alone. To my amazing permanent staff: Jake, Charmain, Skye and Stuart, you have been the absolute best over the past eight months. It is a joy to come to work every day and see your happy faces. Together, we have assisted over 3,000 people, and you go above and beyond to help everyone who walks through our door. To my relief staff: Carolyn, Christine, Janine and Isobel, thank you for coming on board and jumping in to assist wherever and whenever you can.

To the Premier, Ministers and their staff and all my parliamentary colleagues, thank you for all your support and guidance. As a new MP entering this place, it has been a huge learning curve and the support from my colleagues has been invaluable. To Colleen in the Whips office, you are a gem and the lolly jar is the best. It gets me through my days. To the Speaker of the House, your wit and wisdom has provided me with much entertainment in my first year of Parliament and I look forward to the next three. To all the parliamentary staff who keep this place running, I appreciate everything you do to make our work as MPs that little bit easier. To all the essential workers who work hard to look after us every day and all through the Christmas period, our doctors and nurses, teachers, paramedics, firefighters, road workers, council staff, our retail and hospitality staff, I thank you for all your hard work and I am grateful for everything you do for the people in our community.

To our volunteer community groups on the South Coast, thank you for everything. One of the best things about this year has been getting to know you all and helping you wherever I can. To our volunteer emergency groups—the RFS, the SES and Marine Rescue—thank you for helping to keep us all safe. I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with you all year. To my family, it has been a big year. I sincerely thank you for your unwavering support and for keeping me sane. I love you all more than you will ever know. I wish everyone here and on the South Coast a safe, peaceful and Merry Christmas. Enjoy the holidays.

Mr MICHAEL KEMP (Oxley) (17:26:14):

I begin by thanking all the Speaker's team for their expert guidance for a newbie this year. I am delighted and grateful to offer my thanks and good wishes at this special time of the year. At the close of my first year as a member of this place, it is time to reflect on the year that has been and acknowledge the incredible contribution of the many people who work hard every day to build a better future for our communities. Representing the people of Oxley in this Parliament is my absolute privilege and something that I will never take for granted. To the people of Oxley, the Bellingen, Nambucca, Kempsey and Port Macquarie-Hastings shires, thank you again for the faith and trust you have instilled in me to fight for you in this place.

It has not been an easy year for our community. Whether it be drought-like weather, bushfires, varroa mite outbreaks or other hardships associated with living in the regions, our communities have been tough as nails and many among us have stepped up to the plate and put themselves in danger to protect others. Oxley is an incredible place to live. At times it is a tough place, but our community always rallies together, and I thank every resident for their contribution to our beautiful region. Firstly, I thank my family. I would not be here without my wife, Brigitte. She is the one most affected by my work here. Brigitte volunteered to help me work for the community. I love you, babe. To my boys, Ashton, Pierson and Lleyton, who at times miss their dad, and I am sure there are many times they do not. I am looking forward to spending more time with the boys in the holidays.

I thank my hardworking staff who are at the forefront of helping constituents day in and day out. Jemma writes all my communications and speeches. Thank you for your eloquent writing and continued work on getting messages out to those who need them. Deb specialises in helping those in need to navigate the community services and social housing space. Thanks to her work, there are families spending Christmas with a roof over their head. To Susan, the matriarch of our office, thank you for keeping us on task and honest. Holly started as an intern in our office. She is becoming more and more confident every day, and should be proud of the things she is achieving. Jayden, our political powerhouse, keeps me on track and on target. It is much appreciated.

I thank all the people who make Oxley the best place to represent; the local volunteers, the sports groups and organisations, local charities, cultural groups and businesses in my community. They are the essence of our area and all play a significant role in making Oxley a great place to live. I am honoured to have the opportunity to ensure that Oxley continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family, while maintaining our country way of life. It is my mission to ensure that we build the schools, hospitals, roads and infrastructure, as well as protecting and promoting the businesses and industries that make up our community. Thank you to everybody, and while I am a big believer of no Christmas before 1 December, today I wish you all merry Christmas, only one day too early.

Mr GARETH WARD (Kiama) (17:29:31):

I wish everyone in the House a very merry Christmas and a safe and happier new year. It was nice to have a bit of a breather this year, given the horrendous events that our State has had to endure from fires to floods and COVID-19, and my electorate was no exception. We all talk in this House about how our electorates are the best place on earth and how we would rather be nowhere else. But I know that is not true because I know most members will be holidaying in the Kiama electorate this season. I look forward to seeing them all there, and suggest they spend up big because I know that our businesses are looking forward to hosting them. Like other members, I give a shout-out to my electorate office team. I thank James, Toby, Christie, Paula, Brian, Ben, Sam and all of my volunteers who also assist in office and ensure that we continue to represent the Kiama electorate well.

I thank my family, in particular my mum, Margaret, who was an absolute stalwart during this past campaign. I know that many of us have gone through rough election campaigns and some very difficult preselection campaigns. I did not have to worry about that this time. I wish everyone and their families a very safe and happy new year, because without our families we could not do what we do in this place. Marnie Shelley, my new niece, came into the world this year and I pay particular tribute to Emily and Alex. She is their firstborn and I am very excited for them. I know they will be enjoying a particularly special Christmas this year. I am looking forward to joining my dad and my sister in North Queensland this year for Christmas, and I am looking forward to seeing them.

A lot of members have thanked those who work in this place and, while I do not want to repeat what other members have said, I think the staff who work in this building are first-class. They never show an inclination as to whether they agree with a proposition. They just professionally carry out the tasks that are asked of them, from the Clerk right through her team. Sometimes they must be thinking all sorts of things about the requests of members, but we would never know that they held a particular view one way or another. That goes to not just the intelligence and the training but the character of the staff of this Parliament, from the Clerk through to the people who work in catering, the cleaners, security and the research team. I also particularly thank the Parliamentary Counsel's Office this year. I note that the member for Sydney also paid particular tribute to the Parliamentary Counsel's Office as he has had to work more closely with them in the past few months. I can attest to their precision and dedication, and I thank the team.

I thank the Speaker. The Parliament does not often have an independent Speaker. I have had the pleasure of knowing the member for Lake Macquarie for many years, before he even came into this House. We have been very fortunate to have good Speakers over the years that I have been in Parliament. I give a shout-out to Jason Gordon. Mr Speaker and his team are serving this Parliament with great distinction. We are lucky to have a Speaker of his calibre who really cares not just about his own electorate or the role of the Speaker but every single member. I thank the Deputy Speaker, Assistant Speaker and the Temporary Speakers. That was the first job I was promoted to when I entered Parliament. Temporary Speakers spend their time in the chair when they could be doing other things. They do that to serve the Parliament. I thank them for what they do in that respect.

I thank the Whips, who keep their various parties under control. I thank my crossbench colleagues for their work in this Chamber. It has been a different experience for me working with them over the past few months, but I know that, even though we have different views, we respect those different views. I look forward to 2024 with great interest and I look forward to the things that we all work on together. Even though members have disagreements across the table from time to time, the stereotype about politicians does not stack up when it comes to members of the Legislative Assembly. One hears some of the claims about what people think of entitlements and everything else. Every member in this Parliament is so passionate and dedicated and works hard. We have arguments in this Chamber but one of the things the media does not report is the relationships outside this Chamber and the genuine work that goes on to serve our communities. I thank everyone for their work this year. I wish a very merry Christmas to all and a much safer and happier 2024.

Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (17:34:35):

Christmas is almost upon us and, as it is the last sitting week for the year, I reflect on the year that has been. It is no secret that Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. I am excited to say that tomorrow the kids and I will be putting up our Christmas tree. That is late for us; I wanted to do it a month ago but it has been a busy month. This year has been a challenging but rewarding one. Throughout the year a lot has happened across my local community. We have seen major upgrades to local schools completed at both Mosman High School and North Sydney Demonstration School, and the results have been absolutely amazing. As well as new and refurbished classrooms, there is increased outdoor play space, new libraries, halls and even a rooftop court at Mosman High School, with sweeping views down to Balmoral and Manly to the east and the city skyline to the west, which is a testament to the quality of public education and the investment we should be making in our public education students.

Construction has also kicked off at Neutral Bay Public School. I look forward to seeing that major transformation taking place as well, which I will have a front row seat at next year as my daughter starts kindergarten at that school. I thank the entire school community of each of those local schools, particularly the P&C associations, the wonderful principals and teachers, and students and their families, and all the schools across my community. I thank them for their assistance and advocacy for those projects and for working with us so closely.

Work is also powering ahead on the Sydney Metro. Late last week we got the first look at the amazing work that has been taking place in North Sydney at Victoria Cross station. The Sydney Metro is a real triumph of the former Liberal Government that will be a game changer for commuters in my local area. This has been a difficult year for many families across our State as the cost of living has continued to have a negative impact on household budgets, and many of our local small businesses are struggling to stay afloat. As we head into the Christmas season and the new year, I remain committed to working alongside our small and local businesses to help them get through the cost-of-living pressures we are facing. I am committed to minimising the impacts of major construction work on our local community. A lot is happening. Anyone driving north will see a lot of work on Warringah Freeway.

I am also continuing to push for improvements to our public transport services into 2024. There is so much more to do for our local community and I am looking forward to getting stuck back into it in the new year. I am incredibly grateful to my local community for supporting me earlier this year during the State election campaign and sending me back to Macquarie Street for the third time. I particularly acknowledge the incredible hard work and determination of the hundreds of volunteers who put in countless hours to keep North Shore blue. Whether it was at transport stops, markets, street stalls, pre-poll or election day, I cannot thank them enough. In particular, I thank my campaign team, my conference president Ted Wziontek, Georgia Lovell, Greg and Mary Blainey, Jess Kean, Jo Howe, Lachie Clark, Trent Zimmerman, Chris Puplick and Chris McDermott. I thank them all for their hard work and support.

I thank the staff of the Parliament who are instrumental in the running and organisation of this place. In particular I thank the Clerk, Helen Minnican, and her team for all their hard work. I thank the Speaker and his entire office. Parliament loves the Speaker. I have always had a particular affinity for the Speakers during my time in Parliament. I thank Hansard, the front desk staff, the security team, all the parliamentary constables who keep us safe, and the catering and cafe staff, who keep me very well fed and decaffeinated during parliamentary sitting weeks with all my decaf lattes. I thank the Whip and his office for working with me, and the Leader of the Opposition's office as well.

I thank the staff in my electorate office, Lisa Forrest, Chris McDermott and Emily Pavey, for all their hard work assisting me and my local community. Politics can be a blood sport but it really is a team sport. My team in my electorate office are the real people on that front line helping those who need it most and solving problems every single day. This job would be impossible to do without them, their compassion, their hard work and their dedication to my community. I thank them so much. I also thank Cassandra Mullard, Ethan Blair, Claire McDermott and Vicky McDonald, who have also assisted with relief work this year.

I recognise my family for all their love and support. This can be an intense job. To my mum, Lesley, my sisters, Alexia and Christiana, and their beautiful families, and particularly my own two beautiful children, Eleanor and Henry, thank you for your love and support. I know we will have a great deal of fun once Jelly the elf on the shelf returns tomorrow. I wish everyone a merry Christmas and send best wishes for a relaxing break with families and friends. I know that we are all eagerly awaiting Santa's visit, including my two little ones, just like many young kids across New South Wales. But I also spare a thought for children and families across the globe and wish them all a healthy, happy and peaceful Christmas and 2024.

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (17:39:35):BarbieOppenheimer

On the very last sitting day of the very last sitting week of 2023, I am thrilled to take this opportunity to reflect on the year that has been. Typically at this time of the year my kids would be running around the Parliament, the Chamber and my office, but I am happy to say that one of them is at school and the other one is at day care. This year has just flown by. It truly has been a massive year on many fronts. We had the coronation of a new King, versus , world-shattering relationship rumours about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce and, of course, I opened my first car park as a member of the Opposition at Riverwood train station with my own ribbon from home. It has been a massive year.

Importantly, this year we also had a State election. Whilst the Coalition did not stay in government, I was re‑elected as the member for Oatley. I am sure Government members are just as happy as I am about that! On a serious note, whilst we may have been disappointed with the overall result, I extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who worked on the election, including the campaign volunteers, the party officials and the poll workers, as well as my many staff who helped as well. Their efforts helped to ensure that democracy in New South Wales remains as vibrant and as strong as ever. I particularly thank the people of the Oatley electorate for putting their faith in me as their representative in this place.

It is the greatest honour of my life to serve my community. Now in opposition, the Coalition must fight to ensure they receive the services and investment they deserve. The electorate of Oatley is the best place in New South Wales to live, work and raise a family. This year projects continued to start or be opened that will improve the daily lives of people in my community, including the opening of the new Riverwood commuter car park, bringing more than 140 new parking spots, and commencement on construction of a new 200-space commuter car park in Beverly Hills. Construction on stage three of the St George Hospital redevelopment is also continuing, which is great. Work is also continuing nicely to widen King Georges Road from two to three lanes in each direction, getting local residents home sooner and safer.

Earlier this year I was privileged to hand out a number of significant grants to local community organisations like the Resourceful Australian Indian Network in Penshurst; schools including Lugarno Public School, Oatley West Public School and Penshurst Public School; and sporting groups like the St George Australian Football Club, to name just a few. Thanks to the amazing people of my local area, my community has achieved a lot so far this year. Recently, I had the honour of hosting the thirteenth annual St George Community Awards, where so many wonderful and dedicated volunteers who keep our local area moving were recognised. It was a fantastic night and I congratulate all the award winners on their amazing achievements in their local community.

Following the recent State election, I was also honoured to be appointed to the roles of shadow Minister for Multiculturalism, shadow Minister for Jobs, Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology, and shadow Minister for South-Western Sydney. I am extremely passionate about all these areas. It has been fantastic to get out and about this year to learn about the issues and concerns of industry and the innovation sectors and, of course, to continue to work with our vibrant multicultural communities. I thank the fantastic Leader of the Opposition, Mark Speakman, and congratulate him on his appointment and a great first year as leader, fighting every day to hold this Government to account and deliver for our communities. I also thank the frontline workers in my electorate and across New South Wales.

As every good MP knows, this job cannot be done well without good staff. I thank my staff—Clayton, Jayden, Liam and Will—for helping me work tirelessly for our community. From fielding phone calls and running my office to at least trying to keep me on time—which is not easy, I have to say—they all do a great job. Most importantly, my biggest thanks go out to my wife, Adla, and our two kids—"hurricane" and "tsunami", as I fondly call them—James and Sammy, for allowing me to do the job I love most. I thank them for all their unwavering support and guidance.

With Parliament wrapping up for the year, that will mean more early morning soccer games with James and more time to spend at the dinner table with my family. It was a big year for James, who was elected student representative council leader for year 4 and selected for the regional soccer Skill Acquisition Program. I also thank all the staff in this place, including the Clerk, the Speaker, Hansard, catering and many, many others. Finally, as the end of the year fast approaches, I take this opportunity to wish everyone in this Chamber and at home in my community a very merry Christmas, a joyous festive season and a happy new year.

Mr JORDAN LANE (Ryde) (17:45:19):

As I said in my inaugural speech, the people of the Ryde electorate are like family to me, so I would be remiss not to begin this contribution without thanking them for the extraordinary honour to represent them in this Parliament. There is no doubt that the March election was difficult for the Liberal Party, made all the harder because I was running for the first time. The closeness of my result is the greatest reminder that every person matters. My presence in this place against pretty much every statistical odd is a product of the longstanding and family-like relationships that I have been privileged to enjoy in my local community.

I love Ryde and thank the community for the way they have so warmly embraced me as their representative in the New South Wales Parliament. Already we have achieved much, and we are only just getting started. I love representing them, knocking on their doors, taking their calls, reading their late-night emails, and being with them in their places of work, worship and wondering. Already we have fought a few campaigns, won some and are bracing for others. Most importantly, we are elevating the standard of engagement between the community and its representatives, and trying so many different and new things. I thank the principals and P&Cs for having me in their schools, the service providers I have collaborated with, and all the people, especially young people and our newest citizens, who have engaged with local politics for the first time this year.

As a new MP, I am grateful to my Coalition colleagues, who have welcomed a new, young voice from Ryde so openly in the party room. It speaks volumes for their capacity and is a product of the strong Liberal leadership being provided by Mark Speakman, Natalie Ward, Damien Tudehope and Robyn Preston. To The Nationals I offer similar praise and acknowledge the leadership of Dugald Saunders, Bronnie Taylor and all those doing such an admirable job representing the regions in this State. While we may share different stories, experiences and world views, most non-Coalition members have been similarly welcoming, which is testament to their individual characters. I thank those colleagues.

This place has a lot of moving parts. To all the staff—whether they work for Ministers, members or Parliament itself—your contributions are valued more than anyone will ever give you credit for. Your service is the most noble of services. It ensures the functioning of one of the most successful democratic institutions in the world. For some it is a job, but for most it is a calling. I thank them for accepting that call. Someone who not only accepted the call but went on to reshape what it means to serve is my senior electorate officer, Kathy Tracey. The old adage of if you want something done, get a busy person to do it is best epitomised by Kathy. Already a well‑established fixture in local community sport, business, volunteering, schools, politics—you name it—she took to this role like a fish to water. There are some things you can teach a person and other things a person just has to have. Kathy has all of it, and in her spare time learned everything she did not already know. She has led a strong and capable team that is bringing new and innovative ideas to what is a pretty established old institution.

I thank Jasmine Ahlawat, Jem Macpherson and Jordan He, who each carried over from my predecessor, for bringing stability and their corporate knowledge into the new office. To the newer additions, I have been blown away by what you have been able to achieve in the short time you have been in the office. To Liam Bowden, Lisa Li, Tommy Bae and Sienna Rizzo, I am so grateful that you accepted the call, and for your passion and dedication to serving the people of Ryde. I acknowledge the Liberal councillors at the City of Ryde, who stepped up as I stepped away from the mayoralty before the election, and the local branch members and supporters who have done so much to support our cause in the local community. Each of them is deserving of a well-earned break and I thank them for what has been a hugely successful year.

This speech started with an acknowledgment of my Ryde family and I will conclude it on a similar note by thanking my immediate family. I thank my parents and sisters for their steady and constant grounding: I love and appreciate you more than I could ever acknowledge and know that 2024 will bring good health, happiness and hope. There is not a more deserving family, and I am so grateful for your love and support. Finally, to my partner, Natalie: I hate every minute we are apart and I am most looking forward to Christmas because it means more time spent with you. You have provided so much love and support as I embarked upon this new role, and no Christmas felicitation will ever do you justice. I love you so much and cannot wait to do 2024 alongside you. I thank members for this opportunity and wish you all every joy and wonder.

Mr RORY AMON (Pittwater) (17:50:05):

Thank you, Madam Temporary Speaker Di Pasqua. It has always been a long-held ambition of mine to felicitate in this Chamber in your presence, so I am happy to be felicitating here today. This year has been quite a ride for many in the State, and indeed for many in my world. It is an honour to serve the community I love in this, the oldest Parliament in Australia. I have heard many members speak today about how their electorate is the greatest electorate. Quite clearly, they have not been to Pittwater. I call the best part of Sydney home, and I sincerely believe that.

I acknowledge all the wonderful people in my community, including from the 11 surf life saving clubs—though it could be 12 because it changes sometimes with redistribution—or the many Rural Fire Service brigades, who serve our community and communities across the State, the country and even internationally. Recently, many of our volunteers went to Canada to help with those devastating wildfires. Pittwater has a 50 per cent higher volunteer rate than any other part of metropolitan Sydney. That is testament to the service-minded attitude of those who call Pittwater home. It is an honour to represent every one of them. It is my hope that I adopt the same service‑like attitude that they have. I also thank the parliamentary staff who make everything we do here possible, from Clerk Helen Minnican and her team, to security and the attendants. I thank Pete Tuziak, who has on many occasions entertained and enthralled the visitors I have brought into Parliament. They love his humour, experience, wisdom, insights and good nature. He has impressed many members and their guests.

This has been an interesting year with the change of government and many new members who may have come into this place with a degree of scepticism and wariness about those they serve alongside. One thing that I have come to learn in a few short months is that all members are here for the right reasons. They are here because they love their communities and want to leave their world better than when they came here. Although people may see on screen what looks like angry scenes, they do not know the cheekiness that often lies behind what is being said or how it is being said. Even though members may have said unflattering things to or about one another, it is not said in a spirit of meanness. It is said with the passion that individuals feel for their community and their desire to see their community do better.

It is in that spirit that I take this place, notwithstanding that I feel like I am on the wrong side of the Chamber. I know the State will continue to move in one direction or another with people who are doing their best and attempting to apply their convictions, even if others might disagree with them from time to time. All we can really ask for is that people serve their communities as best they can. As we enter the Christmas season, many in our world might not be doing as well as they might like. Indeed, there are many not in our world but in our immediate vicinity who are doing it tough. Might we all remember in the times ahead those who are less fortunate than us so that we might seek to improve their lives and contribute to their betterment where we can.

It would be remiss of me not to thank my team who have helped me set up this year. I thank my current staff, Corbin Jennings, Sarah Halnan and Melissa Ceccaldi, who is, as my predecessor said, an angel always looking out for me and the people in my community. I look forward to hopefully seeing all of my family over the coming festive season, including my parents, Guy and Alexe; my siblings, Chris, Lucinda, Dom, Mel and Cameron; my nieces, Olive and Eden; and my nephews, Beau and Banks. I hope that this period fills those in my community and around New South Wales with joy, merriment, happiness and reflection. I hope everyone is able to improve the life of at least one person in the period ahead.

Mr TIM JAMES (Willoughby) (17:55:15):

The close of the 2023 parliamentary year is an opportunity to reflect and give thanks for the year that has been. It is an honour and privilege to serve the people of Willoughby. I thank them for again placing their trust in me at the election in March. It is never taken for granted. Willoughby is a remarkable community, and it is the people and community groups that are the key to its greatness. I pay tribute to the hardworking, talented and generous people who run the local schools, clubs, churches, faith communities, businesses, associations, and charities that make Willoughby thrive and flourish.

I thank all the community groups and constituents I have had the pleasure of engaging with at listening posts, shopping centres, cafes, pubs, commuter stops, fetes, fairs, local events, front doors, meetings in my office and many more arenas. Community input, feedback, ideas and suggestions are always welcome and invaluable in helping me to deliver for our community. One of the great privileges of being an MP is having the opportunity to attend many local events throughout the year, from art exhibitions, school concerts and sporting matches to cultural festivals, street fairs and club prize presentations. It is always so gratifying for me to share in the achievements and successes of my constituents, whatever their field of endeavour. For so many reasons, Willoughby is truly the best place to live. I thank everyone in our community for continuing to make it so.

This was an election year, and I record my appreciation for the 12 years of Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government—a good government that delivered much for the people of New South Wales. I thank the many Liberal Party members and volunteers who turned out in force to campaign for my re-election earlier this year. I particularly thank my SEC president James Holt, the wonderful team that is the Willoughby SEC executive and the many members and supporters with us along the way. I thank my parliamentary colleagues, including our party leader, Mark Speakman; Whip Adam Crouch, and the hardworking Bo from his office; and all members of shadow Cabinet with whom it is a privilege to sit at that table. Indeed, I thank all members of this Parliament. I particularly thank the Speaker and the Speaker's panel for their great service to the Chamber.

Whatever side of the Chamber we happen to sit on, all members want to serve their community and the State. We are all here to make a difference. I know that beyond the rough and tumble of politics, it is a collegiate atmosphere. I thank the Premier, the Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading and the Minister for Work Health and Safety. Despite our party-political differences, we have worked constructively to seek to serve the people of New South Wales.

I thank my staff in the Willoughby electorate office, Margie Malouf, James Mount, Martin Schuitema and David Furse-Roberts, who are the first point of contact and have served the people of Willoughby with distinction. I particularly thank James Mount, who comes into Parliament with me each week. We do so much in respect of the shadow portfolios. I also thank the many stakeholders, the great industry body groups and the many more organisations across the portfolios of Fair Trading, Work Health and Safety, and Building.

I thank the many volunteers and interns who provide my team with assistance along the way. We could not do it without them. I could not serve the people of Willoughby without Team Tim, as it has become known. I thank all the staff who make our Parliament and the electorate offices function, including the Clerks, research officers, librarians, Hansard reporters, cooks, cleaners, IT support and security staff. Most of all, I thank my loving and supportive family: my wife Nikki, daughters Chloe and Madeleine, and son Xavie. I thank my mum Trish, mother-in-law Lesley and my extended family. The family of a member of Parliament sacrifices a lot, and for that I am ever grateful. Despite all the added pressures that can typically come at this time, Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. For the millions of Christians in our State, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and his message of love, peace, hope and new life.

The joy and goodwill of Christmas extends to people of all faiths and creeds, with communities and households across our State erecting Christmas trees and wreaths, exchanging gifts, feasting on food and drink, enjoying fellowship with family and friends, and—for those of us who are young or young at heart—awaiting a special visit from Santa. In Australia we are fortunate that Christmas coincides with the summer holiday season of sun, surf, cricket and family trips away. It is a special opportunity for quality time with loved ones, and for relaxation and recuperation after a long, busy year. As we enjoy our summer holidays, we must remember our essential service workers, who give up so much of what we take for granted. In particular, we honour the work of our police, nurses, doctors, paramedics and other emergency workers on the front line, who work around the clock to keep us and our communities safe and well. I wish everyone in this building, across Willoughby and across New South Wales a very Merry Christmas and a happy, fruitful and healthy 2024.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Stephanie Di Pasqua):

The question is that the motion be agreed to.

Motion agreed to.