I rise today to pay tribute to someone who has been of great assistance to us all, although we might not have realised it: Parliamentary Library staff member Martin Lumb, who last week retired from the library after more than 30 years of service. Martin began in the Parliamentary Library in 1983 and since 1985 had been the editor of the library's flagship publication, the Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Martin was working on his 11th handbook at the time of his retirement—a remarkable achievement. Under Martin's watch, the handbook evolved from a hardcopy point-of-time publication to an electronically available resource that is revised on an ongoing basis. The handbook remains one of the primary sources of detailed information about the federal parliament today.
Writing in The Australian in 2012, former minister Barry Cohen described the handbook as a 'must have' for political tragics and remarked, 'The arrival of a new edition guarantees hours of fascinating reading.' The editor's position requires meticulous attention to detail and an extensive knowledge of parliament, current and former MPs and political and parliamentary facts and figures. For nearly 30 years Martin managed to juggle the constant demands of updating the handbook over the life of each parliament, while answering a large number of client requests and producing other publications. On behalf of all members, I thank Martin Lumb for his outstanding service and wish him all the very best for his retirement.