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Paul's Blog: Swearing In
Today I was sworn in as a Member of the Federal Parliament.
It was absolutely thrilling to walk into the chamber for the first time –packed with all of the Members who were waiting for question time to begin. I was escorted by Philip Ruddock, the Member for Berowra, the seat immediately to the northwest of my seat of Bradfield; and by Joe Hockey, the Member for North Sydney, the seat immediately to the south of Bradfield. Also in our little party was the other new member of the House, Kelly O’Dwyer, the new Member for Higgins. Kelly was elected at a by-election held on the same day as the Bradfield by-election, 5 December 2009. Kelly was escorted by two Victorian parliamentarians, Tony Smith and Sophie Mirabella.
We walked to a point just in front of the speaker’s chair, where each of us took the oath of office, holding a bible as we were sworn in. Then it was a quick handshake with Prime Minister Rudd, with the Speaker of the House Harry Jenkins, and then over to our side of the chamber where Tony Abbott and the Liberal National Party team sit. Kelly and I shook hands with Tony and his front bench team, and then we were shown to our respective seats.
My assigned seat is in the second row back from the front, and quite close to speaker’s end of the Parliament. Once I sat down I was able to gather my breath and look around to form an impression of my surroundings. It is very exciting to be sitting in the middle of the Parliamentary chamber, particularly while the theatre of question time is going on around you.
I looked around to see my wife Manuela sitting in the gallery, beaming proudly at me. We had only decided at quite short notice that she would come down for the day to witness the moment – but I was very glad she was there. It was truly a special day – and I felt very privileged and honoured to be sitting in Australia’s Parliament representing the people of Bradfield.