House debates

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Governor-General's Speech

Charlton Electorate

1:51 pm

Photo of Pat ConroyPat Conroy (Charlton, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

This will be the last time that a member for Charlton will speak in the House of Representatives. With the recent redistribution, Charlton has been split three ways: into Shortland, Hunter and Newcastle. I want to thank the great electors of Charlton for giving me the privilege of representing them for the last three years. I want to honour the three previous members for Charlton: Bob Brown, Kelly Hoare and my friend and mentor Greg Combet.

It is a great shame that the Electoral Commission has abolished the name of Charlton. Matthew Charlton was a legend of Australian politics. He was a Newcastle coalminer who became a state member, and then a federal member representing the seat of Hunter, and he led the Labor Party for six years during the darkest days post the World War I conscription split. To have that name lost from political history while we have seats in this place named after politicians who opposed Federation is, to me, a most curious thing. In fact, I think it is a disgrace.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to my good friend and close colleague Jill Hall, who will be retiring as the member for Shortland. She will be speaking later today. This parliament will be poorer for her absence. She has represented the great Lake Macquarie and Central Coast regions for 25 years. I want to put on the record my great admiration for her. She has done our region great service. She has been a personal friend and mentor to me, and I wish her every success in retirement.


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