PM draws a close to tough year in Parliament

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has ended the parliamentary year by assuring voters the government will not stop working now that the House and Senate have stopped sitting.

Noting that COAG will meet next week, she said there was still lots of work to do before the end of 2012.

Looking back on the year, Ms Gillard said there had been some happy days, singling out the UN Security Council win. “It was a good day to be an Australian," she said.

Ms Gillard also remembered parliamentarians who had passed away during the year, including WA senator Judith Adams.

She also paid tribute to the seven Australian soldiers who had died in Afghanistan.

"We will think of their families, facing the toughest Christmas of their lives."

After a fiery question time, Ms Gillard still sent good wishes to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the Coalition.

"I hope that they enjoy some rest and respite over Christmas with their families."

In a long list of thank-yous, Ms Gillard mentioned Anna Burke, adding that some days she felt like she should apologise to the Speaker.

She also thanked the women who cleaned her office. "They lift my spirits a lot of mornings," she said.

Parliament will resume sitting on February 5. "We'll be back, ready to go, full of energy in 2013," Ms Gillard said.

Mr Abbott observed that 2012 had been an "interesting year", adding it had "had its exhilarations and its frustrations".

He said that 2013 would be a better year because it would be an election year. "It can't come quick enough," he said.

This story PM draws a close to tough year in Parliament first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.