On indulgence – Much has been said and will be written about Warren Truss and the member for Goldstein in days ahead, but I just wanted to cut through to some of the funny sides of Warren Truss. When I was first ejected from this parliament, Warren made his way across the chamber and said to me, 'Your predecessor never was thrown out of parliament.' It was true. But then one day, on 16 February 2012, Warren Truss was thrown out of parliament, perhaps a little bit unfairly, and I led a walkout of the National Party.

Warren was horrified. But it showed the solidarity of the National Party and it showed the unity of the National Party, and that is something that Warren instilled in National Party members. There are 12 great leaders on the wall of the National Party room, and I am sure that Warren is right up there with the very best of those people. I am sure that the member for New England, his likely successor, will also make his mark as a great National Party leader.              

Last year, at the New South Wales conference of the National Party, Warren and I were sitting at the top table. Warren was going through his notes for the speech that he was about to deliver about regional jobs, infrastructure, the importance of water and all those things that Warren is so across—nobody is better across his brief than Warren—and without even looking at me he said to me, 'Your wife, Catherine, obviously didn't make it to conference.' I said, 'No, in fact, she didn't,' and he said, 'I can tell, because if she had you certainly wouldn't be dressed like that.' I had a green and white striped shirt. I had a blue, navy and red polka dot tie. That is the sort of cut-through that Warren can have. When he has a go at you, there is absolutely no comeback. He has, as Julie Bishop noted, a very dry sense of humour.               

We have seen that sense of humour in Warren, but we have also seen the attention to detail. He is absolutely meticulous with detail. No minister has been better across his brief than Warren. He has done a fine job of unifying the National Party. He has done a fine job of restoring our stocks, which were at an all-time low in 2007 when he reluctantly took over. He has built the party up. We have regained a number of seats. He has left the party in very good hands. I wish him and his beautiful wife, Lyn, all the very best for the future.               

I also wish that for the member for Goldstein, another who is very across his portfolio. The trade deals that he has been able to broker for our nation will stand us in good stead, particularly regional Australia, and I certainly wish Andrew and Maureen all the very best for their futures. Our great nation is better for having both Warren and Andrew serve it.

Cristy Houghton