Christmas Felicitations

Christmas Felicitations

(Christmas Felicitations, 30 November 2023, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

I wish the entire parliamentary community a restful break. It has been a very big year with an election and indeed a very big week with a lot of late sittings. From the moment we walk into the building, the special constables greet us and keep us safe. The front desk attendants welcome us, our visitors and our guests. I thank all the amazing Legislative Assembly staff; DPS staff, including Mark Webb; the catering, facilities, IT and events teams; and the cleaners. There is an amazing community here that helps our democracy function.

I particularly thank the Parliamentary Counsel Office team, led by Annette O'Callaghan. I acknowledge the crossbench has kept them busy with lots of amendments and legislation this year, and we will probably continue to do that. I am really grateful to the Clerk, Helen Minnican; the Deputy Clerk, Carly Maxwell; and the entire team of Clerks for the guidance and support they give all members in this Parliament, especially crossbenchers. They help us get up to speed with what is happening in the House and how to do procedural motions.

I thank all the committee staff and particularly the members of the Privileges and Ethics Committee. We have dealt with some high-profile and quite difficult issues, and we have always put partisanship aside to resolve them in the best interests of the Parliament. I would like to thank the amazing Hansard team, who look down over us in this place and record everything we say and do, and the wonderful team in the library. I thank the press gallery for holding us all to account.

I thank the Speaker, the member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper. It was an honour to nominate him as Speaker and I think he and his entire team, including chief of staff Jason Gordon, have done a great job looking after the Legislative Assembly and guiding a minority Parliament in a mostly calm way through most of the proceedings. I also acknowledge all members of the Speakers' panel, including Temporary Speaker David Layzell, who is currently in the chair. I think we are a good group of multipartisan people who stay up late, who understand procedures and who are at times challenged. And sometimes challenging. Mainly it is Mr Speaker who is challenged; I think the rest of the panel members are pretty good, actually.

I thank the Government: Premier Chris Minns, Deputy Premier Prue Car and Leader of the House Ron Hoenig. There has been genuine and meaningful engagement with the crossbench, and respect for our ideas, thoughts and proposals. That has been returned with the respect for the mandate that the Government has from winning the election. Particularly, I call out Omar Rodriguez and Sachin Saxena in the Premier's office. Both work so well with the crossbench to keep us up to date with what is happening, and I hope my crossbench colleagues keep them up to date with what we are doing. I acknowledge the Opposition and its members for their important job in holding the Government to account. I thank the Leader of the Opposition and the Manager of Opposition Business, Alister Henskens.

I pay particular tribute to my crossbench colleagues. We represent some of the smallest seats, geographically, and some of the remotest seats. We all get along, respecting our role and our differences. I pay particular tribute to the new members of the crossbench—the members for the electorates of Wakehurst and Wollondilly—and thank them for their contribution to the Parliament. All new members of this place are absolutely wonderful and hugely impressive, as the Speaker said in his felicitations. I could not do this job without my amazing team of Tammie, Roy, Leanne, Annie, Donna, Zander and Briana, nor the amazing support of my husband, Victor.

I thank everybody in this Chamber and, indeed, the parliamentary precinct who has been wearing rainbow lanyards throughout the year. There can be challenging times for the LGBTQ community. As many members know, this year I have come under attack for my sexuality. Walking into the Chamber or a room in this building and seeing someone wearing a rainbow lanyard provides you with a sense of safety. Particularly, I thank Pride in Parliament and everyone who has donned a rainbow lanyard. As members leave my electorate to go to your own electorates for this period, I thank you for being here and thank my constituents for hosting you here. I look forward to seeing you all back in 12 weeks.

Let's work together to celebrate and protect our great city!