I congratulate my fellow Western Australian, Chris Evans, on his long and distinguished service to the Australian Parliament, the people of Western Australia and the Australian Labor Party as both a Minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate.
I've known Chris for thirty years. He was my successor as State Secretary of the WA branch of the ALP. We were both elected at the 1993 election, and entered the Shadow Ministry around the same time. We've sat next to each other around the Cabinet table during our time in Government, and on countless long flights between Perth and Canberra. He is a person of great decency, integrity, and compassion, and his values and virtues as a longstanding colleague will be sorely missed.
I congratulate Nicola Roxon on her contribution to the nation first as Minister for Health and Ageing and more recently as Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management. I have known her since before her election as Member for Gellibrand in 1998.?Nicola and I have worked closely during her time as Attorney-General on reforms to the military justice system, and the Government's response to the DLA Piper Review into allegations of sexual and other abuse in the ADF and Defence more broadly. Nicola is a valued colleague and friend, and I look forward to working with her successor, Mark Dreyfus, in his new role.
I also congratulate Dr Mike Kelly on his elevation to the Ministry, as Minister for Defence Materiel. Mike has served as Parliamentary Secretary for Defence assisting on Afghanistan transition, and brings to his new role more than two decades of experience in the Australian Army, and I look forward to working with him in this area. He replaces Jason Clare, who has twice served as Minister for Defence Materiel. I thank Jason for his tireless efforts in this role, having helped to drive enhanced accountability in decision-making and project management in defence procurement and sustainment during his time in the portfolio, as well as working hard to ensure our troops in Afghanistan have had the best kit possible. I congratulate him on his new role as Cabinet Secretary, in addition to his continuing role as Minister for Home Affairs and Justice.
I congratulate fellow Western Australian, Member for Fremantle Melissa Parke, for her elevation to the Executive as Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health, Homelessness and Social Housing. As her constituents?are well aware, Melissa's lifelong commitment to social justice, first as a community lawyer and then working for the UN, makes her an ideal choice for this role.
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