Jenkins' valedictory speech includes plea for asylum seekers

A FORMER Speaker of the House and three Queensland MPs said farewell to parliamentary life during a series of valedictory speeches in the chamber on Monday.

Harry Jenkins held the prestigious role of Speaker for nearly three years before he was deposed, with Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper installed in the role.

But despite the nature of his removal from the office, Mr Jenkins said on Monday he had no regrets.

"I was the one who went to the Governor-General's office, I was the one who signed the resignation letter," he said.

Mr Jenkins spent more than 30 years in public office at all levels of government, 27 years of which were in the national parliament.

While his speech was peppered with jokes and lyrics, he ended with an impassioned plea that more be done to help asylum-seekers.

He said every member of the parliament needed to acknowledge that "this is much bigger than us".

Mr Jenkins also called for politicians to expose themselves to new and varied experiences, such as in refugee camps the world over, to realise refugee problems were a global issue.

His speech came during a series of valedictory speeches including three Queensland MPs, Kirsten Livermore, Paul Neville and Alex Somlyay.

Ms Livermore, who at 43 leaves parliament relatively young, said it was "very hard to make the decision to stand down" after five terms.

She said writing her speech was a "bittersweet moment", highlighting the difficulty of balancing her young family with her duties as a local member.

Among those to pay tribute to Ms Livermore were Prime Minister Julia Gillard, numerous Labor ministers and close colleagues including Nicola Roxon and Sharon Grierson.

Nationals MP Paul Neville, who has held the seat of Hinkler since 1993, gave tribute to his numerous colleagues within local branches of the LNP.

Mr Neville also made an appeal to all members, quoting Sir Thomas More, alluding to the loss of morality among some in politics.

"I won't spell it out, we all know it, and it's little wonder so many people say they don't trust politicians," he said.

Mr Neville also said the conduct during Question Time needed to be improved.

"Like it or not, it is the vehicle by which the public judge us by," he said.

Topics:  alex somlyay farewell kirsten livermore parliament paul neville peter slipper speeches

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