House debates

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Parliamentary Representation


10:36 am

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs (House)) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to say a few words about the member for Lingiari, my mate, the man with the mo. I'll be very brief, but I think it would be fitting for me to say a few words and reflect upon the remarkable parliamentary career of the member for Lingiari. It's clear that there was a dedication to public service—more than three decades in this place. The testament to the endurance of the member for Lingiari and his duty to public service, I think, can sometimes be assessed by the fact that, out of the 227 members and senators that we have currently, he is the only member of parliament who sat in the Old Parliament House as a member of parliament, and it's likely, given the estimated time of the election, that by the time the election is called the member for Lingiari will have been the 23rd-longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, which, given the fact that there have been well over 1,200 House of Representatives members, is an extraordinary achievement in that time. If it weren't for the fact that he lost the election in 1996, which unfortunately many of our parliamentary colleagues did, he rather than the member for Menzies would be Father of the House now—the longest-serving member.

His spread of parliamentary roles included being an executive member of the Hawke government, the Keating government, the Gillard government and the Rudd government. The breadth of his policy went through social services, Indigenous rights, employment and health. He had many roles in the area of defence: defence materiel, veterans and defence personnel. As the shadow defence minister, I have the good fortune of seeking his counsel in this portfolio and other portfolios. The true breadth and depth of his experience and expertise as a parliamentarian is almost without parallel, and I just wanted to pay tribute to him. Of course, I've spent 17 years as a co-tenant, and some people would say some people get less for murder! The fact is that he is a remarkable parliamentarian with an extraordinary history and he deserves that recognition.


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