Parliament: Interesting Speeches

Valedictories Speech

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I would like to briefly place on the record my support for the motion. In doing so, I would like to begin, of course, by thanking my staff—the on-and-off team, which includes Anna and James, who has replaced Anna while she is on maternity leave. She is due on 10 December and yet was sitting at her desk yesterday when I walked in, so maternity leave obviously does not mean what it used to. We are very much looking forward to the arrival of little Reuben. Once again, I congratulate Anna and Ben on a very exciting time ahead.

The Hon. T.A. Franks interjecting:

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: That will be the official name now because it is in Hansard, so hopefully there is not another argument going on as I speak, but whoever they turn out to be, I am very much looking forward to meeting them. I thank Anna, Cathi, James, Lucy, Emma, Anastasia and also Amy who left the team and found new work. It would be remiss of me not to mention that it was Amy’s birthday yesterday. Once again, happy birthday, Amy, and thank you for everything.

I also acknowledge and thank the Dignity Party board, candidates and many supporters. I thank chamber staff, of course, building services, PNSG, library staff, Hansard, catering staff and parliamentary counsel, particularly for their work in the last few weeks and days with the rush to get some amendments across the line. I would also like to acknowledge in particular the retiring members: John Gazzola, with whom I share and will always share a great passion for the arts, so I acknowledge his collaboration and work in that area, and Gail Gago, in particular for her work around domestic violence, women’s issues and also the environmental measures she mentioned.

There are a couple of stories that stick in my mind when I think of the Hon. Ms Gago. Her exuberance has always stuck with me and was very obvious to me. I remember years ago having a meeting with her about something or other. I cannot even remember now what it was about. It was such a long time ago, when I was a very new member of parliament and quite young. I was in my office ready for the meeting, and I could hear Gail talking to herself in her merry little way, trying to figure out where my office was.

I could hear her voice coming down the hallway. She eventually finds the room and comes in and says, ‘This is a lovely set-up you’ve got here, darling. You’ve got this little alcove there with the fridge and everything. That’s your little alcove; that’s lovely. What do you keep in there?’ I said, ‘Sorry, what do you mean?’ She said, ‘Over there, in the safe. What do you keep in there?’ I looked around and thought, ‘There is no safe.’ I am looking around and I realise what she is pointing to. Being a very new and young member of parliament, I did not want to make a minister of the government look silly but I felt that I had to say something. I cleared my throat and said, ‘Minister Gago, that’s a microwave.’

The Hon. G.E. Gago: Thank you for sharing that.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: You are welcome. I have been waiting this whole time. Of course, the other and far less embarrassing story that comes to mind when I think of Gail was during a period when certain circumstances had led to her being the only minister for the government in this chamber. As a result, she was under the pump each and every sitting day. I took her aside one day and said, ‘Would you like to go out for a coffee or a cup of tea or something, just to have a chat? It doesn’t need to be work-related, just to give you a few minutes to breathe.’ We were chatting and I asked her, ‘What do you like to help you relax? What is a treat for you?’ If I am not mistaken, I think I remember that she said, ‘A Balfours meat pie.’ Was it Balfours or Vilis?

The Hon. G.E. Gago: Or both.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Either/or. That surprised me because the Hon. Ms Gago is known for her strict exercise regime and strict diet of salad and not much else. I just want to put on the record that I did once or twice think about leaving the treat for Ms Gago, but it was not appropriate to leave it on her desk in the chamber and I was worried about what might happen if a sweaty meat pie was left in her letterbox.

The Hon. G.E. Gago: I would eat it!

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Yes, I know, but I am more worried about your poor staff who have to pick it up and deal with whatever odour and condensation comes out of the letterbox. I just wanted to place on the record that I did remember that and did consider it. Now that she is out I might have the opportunity to finally provide her with one in an appropriate setting.

Thank you, both Mr Gazzola and Ms Gago, for your work. I also want to place on the record my thanks to my support workers, without whom I literally would not be able to do this job. I need them to get me out of bed in the morning and make sure that I am wearing clothes, which is always a preferable thing when you are about to go into parliament, so I could not do this without them. In particular, I thank my main support worker Jarrod, who really does go above and beyond, both professionally and personally, to support me.

I think that has been more evident this year when we have conducted no less than 10 regional trips between me and my staff. Jarrod, I think I am right in saying, has accompanied us on each and every one of them and that means a lot of driving for him, a lot of early starts and a lot of late nights. I get paid well enough to do that but a poor support worker certainly does not, so I want to put on the record as always my thanks to dear Jarrod. I am very grateful to have him.

He is not only a great worker but a fantastic friend. Jarrod actually accompanied me to my grandmother’s funeral this year in Canberra. He will not like me putting this on the record because I was supposed to pretend that he did not hear it, but my cousin was thanking him for accompanying me and making it easier for me to get over to Canberra for the funeral, and he said words to the effect, ‘That’s alright; Kelly’s my sister,’ but I wasn’t supposed to hear that. However, now that I have, I would like to place on the record that Jarrod is very much my brother as well.

Of course, my other friends and family, my mum and dad, and my brothers Shane and Cody have become accustomed, bless their hearts, to texts at 10.30 at night asking, ‘Is this a good title for a media release? What do you think about this? What do you think about that?’ When my staff are unavailable, my parents in particular are, particularly to support me through the late nights and the impacts they can have on me. I place on the record my undying gratitude for their unwavering support.

The Hon. Ms Gago made some very poignant comments about the importance of partners and the often unrecognised roles that partners play, so I want to place on the record particular recognition of Nick and my best friend Chantelle for always choosing me, even when I did my level best to make it impossible for them. I will not say any more because there are not any words.

Thank you to my parliamentary colleagues for working with me often constructively, sometimes not, and if not making it interesting at least throughout the years and achieving some great outcomes as a result. The amendments to the spent convictions provisions just this afternoon are one such example.

Lastly, I wanted to place on the record my thanks to all those advisers, supporters and particularly constituents who have contacted me over the years, because ultimately you are what we are all here for and, if it were not for you allowing me to share your stories to fight for not only change for ourselves as individuals but change within the necessary systems as well, I certainly would not be able to put to my name the number of achievements that I can. Of course I am hoping to be able to achieve more, but that depends very much on the outcome of what will occur in just a few short months’ time.

Having said that, I am putting out positive vibes and I look forward to, if not returning here, continuing my love for South Australia and advocacy for those who need it in our community in some other form. But, for the time being, this is wood. I know because I remember the fight to get it here. Thank you all for your love, support and, if not love and support, then for making my life interesting.

To my colleagues who are, like me, facing election in the coming months, all the very best, and even to those of you who are not, all the very best for everything you wish to achieve and for a happy new year and long beyond that as well.