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Moore than Greenough

20 November, 2012
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The last act in the adjournment of the Legislative Assembly for 2012 (barring any additional days for dealing with urgent business): the much-awaited closing track on the compilation. It’s a pity Hansard doesn’t include dramatic pauses – there was a long one before the final six words of the Speaker’s introductory remarks (before the ‘[…]’ below). Thanks, Mr. Woodhams – goodbye and good luck with life outside Parliament!

THE SPEAKER (Mr G.A. Woodhams): It is great to have a good crowd in! I would sincerely like to thank some people because, having been here for eight years, it has been an immense privilege to be in this place; I think we all know that as members of Parliament. There are some people I would like to thank, and if members will indulge me, I would just like to go through a list before we get to the poetry.

[…]

There remains one thing, members. I am still on my feet—I could sit down and let some of you go but I know you are only here for one reason. With apologies to A.B. Paterson —

Woodie, the Speaker of the Overflow

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better knowledge
Sent to where I had met him, down at Parliament years ago
He was speaking when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him
Just ‘on spec’, addressed as follows: Woodie, the Speaker of the Overflow!

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
(And I think the same was written on an iPad in a car)
‘Twas his tweeting mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it
“Woodie’s gone to coach footy and we don’t know where he are”

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Woodie
Coaching out at Nabawa, where the worst of the pollies go
Where the players need some urging
Woodie running behind them quoting words from Haydn Bunton
Yes, the bush coach’s life has pleasures that Woosha will never know

And the bush hath friends to meet him and the Chapman voices greet him
In the murmur of the prospect of another premiership for the boys
And he sees the vision splendid of the Moresby Ranges extended
And at night the wond’rous glory of the surf in Champion Bay!

I am sitting on the back benches facing war in the trenches
Where a stingy ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open air conditioner floating, spreads its foulness over all

And in place of bleating sheep and cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the Mace and Black Rod making hurry down the aisle
And the language uninviting of Liberal and Labor fighting
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless voices of all

And the arguing politicians daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy
For most have no time to grow, they have no time to waste

And sometimes I think it would be good eh that I could change with Woodie
Like to take a turn at playing footy with his first eighteen again
While he faced Barnett and McGowan
But there’s no way he’ll come back to this office, Woodie, the Speaker of the Overflow!

[Applause.]

Grant Woodhams gives his valedictory remarks

Subject: Adjournment of the House [Legislative Assembly – Special – Valedictory Remarks — Statement by Speaker]

Date: 15 November 2012

Hansard reference: pp. 8869, 8872-8873 [online (pdf)]

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