Sunday, October 23, 2011

He has endured 12 premiers, eight speakers and sat through countless debates - and scandals - in the bearpit in Australia's oldest parliament. After 21 years, the reign of the longest-serving Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Russell Grove, will come to an end when he retires on November 4. Russell Grove has been Clerk of the Legislative Assembly since 1990, having entered Parliamentary Service in 1971.

I've enjoyed every single day of my working life. I'm very fortunate in that regard.

Reflecting on how the parliament has changed in the four decades he has worked there, Mr Grove said there was ''probably more camaraderie 40 years ago. Civility is a big issue in politics internationally. But there is also more pressure on MPs''.
In the public gallery during the tributes were Mr Grove's wife, Frances, and daughter, Sarah-Jane.

Afterwards MPs joined Mr Grove for morning tea in the Speaker's Garden and he received a standing ovation at the end of question time. Mr Grove said he would tackle a pile of political biographies, but has no plans for a tell-all book of his own. On what makes a good clerk, he said: You just need to keep your mouth closed

It has been a great honour for me to have Russell Grove and his wife, Frances, as my constituents. From their location in Springfield Avenue in the heart of Kings Cross they have given me feedback about the night-time activities in Central Plaza. We also have a common interest in the Pearl Beach area. I know that although Russell is retiring I will still see Russell, Frances and Sarah-Jane.

Over this long period there have been great challenges and many changes. Throughout these times I have come to the view that only by having confidence in itself, and an ability to adapt to the new challenges while respecting the value of past practices, can the House survive as the sovereign body of our State. Unwarranted and unfounded criticism from whatever quarter should not deflect Members from their important duties and responsibility as representatives of the people of New South Wales ... To some extent we are honouring today the man who was not there. The fact is that the officials who sit at the table of Parliaments like ours in the place are invisible. Parliamentary Marco Polo

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