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A Day with Chris Patterson MP

Today the Probus Club of Harrington Park set off early this morning with Opal card on the train to Sydney.  We met outside Parliament House after being jostled by the Marijuana people from Nimbin telling us it is the older members of society that are users. (Not us)  Also told us how good hemp fabric is. Once we passed security and into Parliament House we were shown in to the Speakers Gardens after receiving our Visitor Tags. It's a very nice area with plants growing well, as they should, being looked after by gardeners from the Botanical Gardens.  I don't think anyone pinched cuttings! Chris Patterson came down to meet with us. His PA who had organised the day for him, and us, came too.

Chris answered many questions and we then got to meet the Speaker of the House Legislative Assembly, Shelley Hancock. Shelley is responsible for most of the staff within Parliament House. Shelley was elected in May 2011 as the first Female Speaker for NSW.  Stuart Ayres from Penrith, Minister for West, came along and spoke to us about the M5 extension, and other infrastructure and the costings of some of these projects.  We were invited to visit the Speakers dining room. We learned later on that we were too big a group to be in that room. As well Chris's budget wouldn't cover the costs. Chris then took us on a tour of the Parliament. We went from down on 2nd floor to 12th floor with floor 7 being ground level.  Bit confusing but we had good guidance from the local member. He had a few secrets to share and show us. One is the great swimming pool and gym that is for the use of members of Parliament. Also was the lolly stash in his office.  Good to see he shops locally at Lolly Land. Maybe Chris gets a discount? Then on the 12th floor we saw his second office that's got the best views in Sydney overlooking the Domain.

Chris introduced other members of Parliament to our group as we were walking around.  It was very interesting to see most of the areas of Parliament and we had such a great guide who was proud to show his constituents his place of work. We even got into Gladys's office area but she was busy with meetings. We were invited to sit in on "question time". Not sure where the name came from but the Bear Pit came alive at 2.15pm when Dorothy Dix questions were asked and somehow answered. If we had behaved like that at school we would have been given the cane.  Top marks to Shelley, the Speaker, who sure had her work cut out trying to control them. Yes, a few were thrown out. We shared the gallery with members from the "Stolen Generation" and our groups were introduced by the speaker.

Terry thanked Chris for giving his time to show us around. We all enjoyed the day, visiting our State Parliament House and having lunch in the Public Café.

After an interesting day we headed home for a well-deserved drink.

Many thanks to Terry for organising such an interesting and informative day.

Marg Favelle

Thursday 25th May 2017

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The Speaker is saying No,no, no

Stuart Ayres is saying Yes,yes,yes

Marg is saying, too much hard work