Let MPs be real. This was the heartfelt plea from John Carter in his valedictory statement to parliament yesterday evening.
The MP known for his colourful jokes said that while MPs needed to be serious they also needed humour.
MPs were coming under more and more scrutiny, particularly from the media who were trying to turn them into saints.
“We need to be real otherwise how can we represent real people? Let us be real,” he said in one of the few serious moments in a very funny speech.
John has been in parliament since 1987. He sought, and received, permission to table a paper on his superannuation showing how much of his own after-tax earnings he had paid into it.
He also had a message for the racing industry: “The people in racing are wonderful but until they realise that the change that needs to happen needs to happen from within it won’t. If the racing industry doesn’t change it is doomed.”
John said he had been proud to be part of the parliamentary rugby team and it held the Parliamentary World Cup. “The All Blacks could take a leaf out of our book.”
He has been an MP for nearly 24 years and in every election except 1993 he increased his majority.
When he finished speaking MPs from across the house went up to shake hands and hug him. It was a reminder for those of us watching from the gallery that although it is MPs’ differences that are usually highlighted, they also work together and their is respect and even camaraderie across political parties.
UPDATE: Keeping Stock has the video of the speech.