Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the Opposition) (11:09): on indulgence—Mr Speaker, I thank you for that action and say that Mike Kelly is someone in this House who has had friends across the chamber and is respected across this parliament. He served this nation in uniform in Somalia; in Eastern Europe, in the Middle East, including in Iraq; and in Timor-Leste. The fact is that he’s had a tough time over many months—10 surgical procedures—as a result of the dehydration that occurred when he was serving his nation. People who serve their nation in uniform are all deserving of our respect.
He went on to serve his nation in this parliament; to win a seat off the Liberal Party not once but twice is an extraordinary achievement. He tells me that no-one who has been the member for Eden-Monaro has ever given a valedictory in this House. He was able to leave at a time of his choosing—but not of his desire—for those health reasons. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of everyone in this chamber in saying that we wish him well. We hope that he is able to recover to the extent of at least stabilising his health issues. Eden-Monaro is a very big electorate which you have to travel largely by road. The medical advice just before his resignation was that he has been classified by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as having a permanent incapacity. He is someone who honoured this place with his presence. I regard him as a friend, and I wish him, Shelly and the family all the best into the future.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.