On behalf of current Senators I should qualify in fact, Ian, my research tells me you the 17th person to have the honorific Father of the Senate.
Ian has not laid back and assumed some dignified, honorific role. He is still what he has always been, ever since I joined the Senate 15 years ago. He has been a hammer of the Labor Party. I don’t think there is a political opponent who gives more grief or is more feared by our political opponents than Ian Macdonald. And that is one of the many, many reasons why you are so beloved by your colleagues.
And you are of course, and always have been, a passionate voice for Queensland and in particular a passionate voice for North Queensland.
Let me try and explain to you also the importance of Ian’s role in history.
There has been a retrospective in these speeches this afternoon but this should be seen as a mid-career event. A mid-career appreciation.
When Ian’s current Senate term expires, he will be one of the very few people who have served in the Australian Senate for 30 years. There have been 575 people since Federation who have had the honour to serve in the Australian Senate and only six who have served for longer than Ian Macdonald.
There have been 17 Queensland Liberal Senators since the Liberal Party formed in 1944. Last year, Ian overtook Senator Annabelle Rankin who served for 24 years and within the life of his current term, he will overtake a man whose name hasn’t yet been mentioned but whose memory should be conjured in this company, the late great Senator Ian Alexander Christie Wood, another North Queenslander by the way, who served for 28 years. So by the time his current term expires, Ian will become the longest serving Queensland Liberal Senator in history.
But of course, as I said a moment ago, there are six who’ve served longer than that, so when we come to the 2020 election we fully expect you Ian to go around again. And I am sure your very close association with the Young LNP is based on affection but also on calculation.
And when that term expires in 2026, god willing, and I am sure god will be willing, there will still be two who have served longer than 36 years. One of them, the longest serving Queensland Senator, Sir Walter Cooper, a Country Party Senator, the other, the longest serving Senator in Australian history, Sir George Pearce, was in fact Jane Prentice’s grandfather.
So all the complimentaries, all the connections fuse in you Ian. So come 2026, in about 10 years time, in the 2025 Senate preselection, we will all be there, because we fully expect you to become, there’s every reason why you should become, the longest serving Australian Senator ever.
Now Ian you have given a lifetime of service to North Queensland, to Queensland, to Australia, to the Liberal Party, to the LNP. You’ve had your ups and downs as we all do, but may I say on behalf of your colleagues, on behalf of the 32 other serving Government Senators at the moment, how much we admire you, how much we respect you, how much we are fond of you, and how much we need you. Congratulations.