Joe Hockey is leaving politics after nearly 20 years in Canberra, and the former treasurer just delivered his valedictory speech in parliament.
Hockey, his voice quivering, paid tribute to the many people who’ve assisted him during a long political career, still defended his widely panned 2014 budget, and having lost his job in the leadership spill by Malcolm Turnbull, pleaded that “the revolving door in politics must be jammed shut”.
Of his fellow MPs, Hockey said “you’ve stirred me to great anger, but equally we’ve all shared many laughs. Above all else, you’ve made very proud to be an Australian.”
His former boss, Tony Abbott, who is overseas and did not hear his farewell speech, is one of the “most selfless, hard-working and honourable people I’ve ever met”. Appealing directly to the Australian public, Hockey said “the real Tony Abbott is more of a good and decent man than you may know” and the Abbott government was “good at policy but struggled with politics”.
Hockey, who shared houses with a number of fellow MPs, including cities minister Jamie Briggs and Australian War Memorial director Dr Brendan Nelson, confessed that “our happiest moments were sitting at home late at night, eating Paddle Pops watching Jerry Springer and admiring the latest Nickelback album, in my case alone”.
He singled out his “age of entitlement” speech, delivered overseas to just 40 people while in opposition, as one of the most influential political public addresses of the last 20 years and continued to hammer the theme as something future governments need to pursue.
He also paid tribute to Labor for implementing the NBN and said the Medical Research Future Fund is “my single proudest achievement”.
“Most people leave this parliament as a result of defeat, death, disillusionment or disgrace; we all have to work hard to leave with dignity,” Hockey said.
Then he made this heartbreaking confession about his son:
“Last Monday was Iggy’s sixth birthday and I’ve missed every single one of his birthdays. I won’t miss another one.”
The retiring member for North Sydney is now tipped to replace Kim Beazley as the US ambassador.
With his wife and children in parliament to watch his farewell address, MPs rose as one to give him a standing ovation.
“We admire you Joe, we love you, you have made an enormous contribution,” prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said in response.
His farewell speech is below.
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