House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2008


Mr Leonard Joseph Keogh; Dr Kenneth Lionel Fry; Ms Helen Mayer; Hon. Robert Lindsay Collins AO; Mr Matt Price; Mr Bernard Douglas (Bernie) Banton AM; Hon. Sir Charles Walter Michael Court AK, KCMG, OBE; Sir Edmund Percival Hillary KG, ONZ, KBE

Debate resumed from 12 February, on the Speaker’s announcement.

11:51 am

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister Assisting the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today in the Main Committee to associate myself with the remarks made in the main chamber in a condolence for Matt Price. I endorse the words of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Prime Minister about Matt Price. I send the condolences of my wife and I to the family of Matt Price, to his wife, Susie, and his children, Jack, Matilda and Harry.

My wife and I travelled to Perth for the funeral of Matt Price. My wife does not travel a great deal. She is now 37 weeks pregnant and back in November-early December travel was not a high priority for her. She also has three other children. Obviously she tends to travel much less than when we were first married and before we had children. But she was absolutely determined that we should travel to Perth for Matt Price’s funeral. I image Matt Price was the only person in politics—or in the press gallery, should I say—that she would feel so overwhelmed by in the sadness that she felt about his death. I felt the same way and was very happy to go to the funeral to support his family, to show how much we cared about him as a person and to pay our respects.

In this job—and I have been a member of parliament for 15 years—there are few relationships that one builds with the press gallery, for obvious reasons. We are like a small bird and a hippopotamus in Africa; we have a symbiotic relationship as journalists and politicians. We need to get our messages out to the public and journalists need to get the stories and dig deep—not to deliberately embarrass us but to make sure that the public knows what is going on. That is their job and they do it very well. So you do not tend to have good friendships with people in the press gallery, for that very reason.

I can say with absolute confidence that I did not feel that way about Matt Price. Matt Price had an amazing ability, as a person and as a journalist, to encourage trust and faith with the people who should not have been trusting him. He was such a larrikin. He was so engaging and had a marvellous turn of phrase. His column ‘The Sketch’, as well as his stories—but particularly ‘The Sketch’—was something that almost had the essence of the Henry Lawsons and the Banjo Patersons about it. He had the great capacity that Australians have to poke fun at other people, to rib politicians and other political, business or even union figures in a way that no-one can take offence at. Other countries find our sense of humour hard to understand. The Americans often take offence at things that we say when we are just ribbing each other. Matt Price used to do the same thing through his column.

I was sometimes the butt of his jokes, but I really enjoyed that. I did not mind at all sometimes the way he characterised me—I think I can say it now—as the Treasurer’s closest friend and supporter. I was not always pleased to be characterised in that way in the previous government, but I did not mind because Matt Price had such a marvellous turn of phrase. Who could take offence? It is a particularly Australian trait to be able to poke fun without sarcasm and to be able to raise humour and a wry smile without actually hurting anybody’s feelings. Matt Price had that great gift. We are all the poorer without Matt Price.

Often I knew I should not have taken Matt Price’s calls, but he drew people to him like a magnet. I certainly had many times of laughter and great meals with Matt Price. We were all utterly shocked at how quickly he was taken from us, how quickly he died. I had dinner with him about two weeks before the rising of parliament before we had the election called and did not come back at all. Gosh, he was in great health and heart. For him to die as quickly as he did was a terrible shock to us all. It certainly brought home to me the great mortality that we all exist with every day. While sometimes in politics we think that nothing can hurt us, the fact that such a marvellous person as Matt Price could lose his life as quickly as he did and be taken so young was really a great tragedy for us all.

His family at the funeral were absolutely extraordinary. His children were extraordinarily courageous and were a great credit to him. I would like to place on record my strong feelings for Matt Price and wish his family all the best. I know they will have the remarkable resilience and good sense of humour that Matt Price had throughout his life. I thank the House for the opportunity to comment on this condolence.

11:57 am

Photo of Greg CombetGreg Combet (Charlton, Australian Labor Party, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement) Share this | | Hansard source

I wish to speak on the condolence for Mr Bernie Banton. Bernie Banton was a personal friend of mine and I knew him as a passionate fighter for justice. He was a hero to many people. We first met in the emotion-charged campaign against James Hardie in 2004 when I was then the ACTU Secretary. I have spent a fair degree of my working life over the last 25 years campaigning on behalf of asbestos victims and so had Bernie Banton, but it was not until 2004 that we met.

James Hardie, as many people would appreciate, had for many years knowingly manufactured and marketed asbestos products that were harmful to people’s health. The evidence that has been produced over a number of years now in compensation proceedings is that the company knew that asbestos caused the crippling lung disease asbestosis, and they knew that as far back as the 1930s. They also knew, certainly from the 1950s and 1960s, that asbestos could cause the fatal cancer mesothelioma. Nonetheless, in that knowledge James Hardie continued to produce asbestos based products right up until 1986.

Bernie and his brothers had worked in James Hardie’s Camellia operations in an inner western area of Sydney in the 1970s. Evidence in Bernie’s compensation case late last year showed that the company had in fact screened him for asbestos damage in the 1970s when he was working for the company. In an action that was typical of how James Hardie treated not only their employees but many other members of the community, James Hardie found the early indicators of lung damage in Bernie Banton in the 1970s, yet they did nothing to prevent further harm and they did not even advise him that the asbestos was already affecting his health. They covered up the damage to the health of their employees. Many employees of the company and consumers within the wider community were treated in this way, and essentially that was with contempt.

As a result of this, and as evidence came to light over the years, the company faced a mounting compensation liability from former employees, current employees and members of the community who had derived asbestos diseases as a result of exposure to James Hardie asbestos products. In the late 1990s, faced with this mounting liability for compensation, the company restructured and re-registered in the Netherlands. I am convinced from my experience in this area that this was clearly an attempt to place its assets beyond the reach of victims of its asbestos products in Australia. I believe the Netherlands was selected as a place for the company to register because of the legal difficulty claimants in Australia would have in pursuing their compensation against the company in that jurisdiction.

This legal construct, as it were, was put together by a company in Sydney known as Allens, and it truly disgusted many of us when we came to appreciate exactly what had been concocted. At the end of the day, the company had left behind $300 million to meet a compensation liability which it later agreed in negotiations with us was in the order of $1.5 billion in net present value. In nominal terms, that liability over the next 40 to 50 years is approximately $3½ billion to $4 billion. I emphasise that the company left behind less than $300 million to meet that liability, and that was a liability which they agreed in negotiations would obtain.

Within a short time of the company conducting the restructuring, that dramatic shortfall in funding became apparent. People who had been left to suffer the loss of their health, their livelihoods and possibly there lives faced the prospect of no compensation at all. Like many throughout the community, I was appalled by this development. In my experience, compensation in these circumstances is important not just for the financial security of a victim’s family but also to obtain a sense of justice. In my own experience of more than 20 years campaigning on behalf of asbestos victims, I have found that justice and peace of mind are crucial for sufferers of asbestos diseases. It is a terrible thing to prematurely have your health, your livelihood and possibly your life taken away through corporate negligence and malfeasance.

People like to see justice done. This is what motivated Bernie Banton. His own experience and the experience of others in his family—his brothers, who had also worked at the James Hardie plant—made him extremely angry, but it made him determined to bring the company to justice. It also motivated his concern for other people, but it certainly never conquered his spirit. I met him during the Jackson commission of inquiry established by the Carr government in New South Wales in 2004 to investigate the company’s restructuring. Bernie, even at that time, had a vastly reduced lung capacity as a result of asbestosis, yet he attended every single day of a rather lengthy commission of inquiry and listened to every piece of evidence. It was extremely important to him to see that the real information about what the company had done was brought into the public light.

When I met Bernie, I knew immediately he would be the best possible advocate for the campaign to bring the company to account. He was not only passionate, he also had a great sense of humour. He had a natural gift—a rare gift in public life—which enabled him to communicate through the electronic media with the community as a whole and get the message through. At the start of the campaign to unravel the James Hardie restructuring, I would have to say that the odds were not good. The corporate manoeuvring had been very well planned by a prominent law firm in Sydney. It placed the company in a strong legal position—from our point of view, potentially beyond the reach of any action within an Australian jurisdiction. And that of course is precisely what it was intended to do.

It was clear that our best chance in campaigning against this to secure the compensation funding from the company was to bring immense moral pressure on the directors and the executives of James Hardie to do the right thing. We needed to win the overwhelming support of the Australian community to achieve justice, and that is what we set out to do. The ACTU and the union movement throughout the country mobilised in partnership with asbestos victims groups in each state and territory and many other community organisations and churches to achieve that aim. Bernie Banton was an extremely important person in the leadership of that campaign and he did achieve the overwhelming support of the Australian community for justice. He was the standard-bearer in the campaign by the labour movement. People were inspired and motivated by his passion, and the pressure of community opinion ultimately brought the company to the negotiating table. That alone was an immense achievement. It is a tremendous thing in the cause of justice in our society that that was done and Bernie’s role in it was simply wonderful.

The fact is—and I was close to all of these events—that without Bernie Banton’s advocacy we may not have brought the company to account. That is the fact of the matter. Therefore, without his contribution there may well be people with asbestos diseases today who would not have access to compensation. In that campaign, despite his crippling lung disability, Bernie worked feverishly. We travelled around the country, we spoke at workplace meetings, we spoke at rallies, we did many media interviews and we campaigned very hard. Bernie contributed enormously. But when we got into the negotiating rooms his contribution was none the less important. The negotiations with James Hardie were very difficult, very complex and quite draining. The initial negotiation of an in-principle agreement took place in the last couple of months of 2004. Issues of corporate law had to be considered which were relevant to the Australian, Netherlands and US jurisdictions. The asbestos compensation systems in each state needed to be considered, as James Hardie attempted to use the negotiations to diminish the rights of compensation claimants. Additionally, we had to ensure the future commercial viability of the company in order to secure a stream of funding for the next 40 to 50 years to fund the compensation of Australian asbestos victims. This required us, of course, to develop an informed view about the commercial circumstances of the company and the market in which, by that time, it was principally operating in—that is, the United States.

We, at the end of the day as you have to in many negotiations, balanced the legitimate interests of the people that we were representing with the legitimate interests of those on the other side of the table. They were complex negotiations, but throughout them Bernie struggled with his own deteriorating health. His lung capacity was diminishing and it was not easy to get there. We started sometimes at seven in the morning and we finished after midnight, day after day after day. But he never missed a session and he humanised what were otherwise extremely dry commercial and legal arguments in the negotiations, often with a sharp retort to an insensitive remark by one of our opponents and often with the use of his dry wit. I suppose it has become a bit notorious that, in response to the payment that the former CEO of James Hardie took at one point in time, Bernie said that when he heard the news it ‘took his breath away’. That is a bit better known, but he certainly had a lot of other quips that really did humanise the negotiations. The fact is, though, that on a number of occasions I was extremely concerned about his wellbeing because he had, of course, to take a tank of compressed air around with him to assist him with breathing and there were a number of occasions when that was running out and we were quite anxious about his health.

He richly deserved any recognition he received, and I know how much he valued becoming a Member of the Order of Australia. The friendship we developed extended well beyond the James Hardie campaign and we enjoyed each other’s company. My wife, Petra, and I particularly enjoyed any time we had with Bernie and his wife, Karen. Not that long back, as he was ill in hospital, I was visiting him and Dean—Bernie and Karen’s son—had his year 12 dinner function on at the King’s School. Bernie was terribly upset about not being able to attend and he asked me to stand in on his behalf. It was a great pleasure to do so.

The thing that really nourished Bernie, though, aside from his family and his love for his family, was being on the campaign trail. Over the last few years he contributed greatly to the campaign by the unions against the Howard government’s unfair industrial relations laws—the ‘Your Rights at Work’ campaign. Bernie Banton had an important role in that campaign. He spoke on behalf of the campaign in two major mobilisations that we had. One, in November 2005, mobilised people all around the country and I think is generally accepted to have been the largest mobilisation of people in protests since the Vietnam War. He spoke at Federation Square and the speeches were broadcast across the country by the Sky network. His speech assisted and congealed people’s sense of and confidence in the campaign. They had confidence in him and his sense of justice and, as a consequence, it built the preparedness of people to support the campaign against the unfair industrial relations laws. He spoke again in a broadcast we did from the Melbourne Cricket Ground in November 2006. They were not easy to do, because his health was continuing to deteriorate.

Bernie had a keen sense that, at the end of the day, it was the unions that really stood up for the rights of working people. When his health was failing in November last year, he insisted that at every opportunity I had I make the point that without the unions there would be no justice for James Hardie asbestos victims. Even with failing health, he was campaigning for other mesothelioma victims to have access to a chemotherapy treatment, called Alimta, denied to people because it was not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. That was an injustice that was corrected by the former government following Bernie’s campaigning, and it was another important achievement on behalf of others at a time when he could barely muster the strength that the campaign took. That takes a pretty special person with extraordinary strength and spirit. The truth is, of course, as in all of these circumstances, that it is the collective effort of a great many people that makes the difference. Bernie has a very special place in the collective effort on behalf of asbestos sufferers, and I think he has a special place in many Australians’ hearts. He was a decent and compassionate person. He enriched my life, and I miss him. I extend my condolences to his wife, Karen, their five children, their grandchildren and all members of his extended family.

12:12 pm

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Deputy-Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Whilst I want to be associated with all the condolences, I want to pay tribute to the life of Helen Mayer, the former member for Chisholm during the Hawke years from 1983 to 1987, who passed away—sadly, too soon—very recently. I knew Helen very well and I had the great joy of working on her unsuccessful campaign in 1989, when she tried to re-enter parliament. The last time I saw her was at a dinner held for me in Box Hill last year prior to the election, where she attended and brought along a table of her former staff to listen to another past Labor candidate for Chisholm, and former Chief Justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson.

Helen was a remarkable woman—tenacious, committed, hardworking, idealistic and selfless. She was a positive, energetic woman, well respected as an MP for her work in parliament and in the local community and described by many as a dignified role model. Helen actively pursued her ideas in parliament, because she was passionate about them. She was motivated by her belief in ‘the light on the hill’—that is, the duty and responsibility of the community, and particularly those who are in a more fortunate place, to look after our less fortunate fellow citizens. To her, good government meant governing for all and creating a better world for all citizens to live in. She was a passionate supporter of women’s rights and a strong and active role model for women in public life. Indeed, in her maiden speech Helen says how proud she is to be the first woman and the first Labor member to be elected to represent Chisholm, which bears the name of Caroline Chisholm, the social worker who helped new women migrants settle into this country. She was also passionate about poverty, the environment, reconciliation and education.

Helen Mayer was born in Kaniva between Nhill and Bordertown on the Wimmera-Mallee border on 7 September 1932. Her family later moved to Echuca, where she had the great fortune of being able to ride a Clydesdale horse to school, she notes. She was brought up in a lower-middle-class Presbyterian family where ‘the greatest sin in our household was pride or any overt expression of self-esteem.’ She and her siblings were brought up to think only of others and not of themselves. Her mother stipulated that at birthday parties guests had to bring presents for charity rather than for Helen or her siblings. This was to teach the children about sharing and not having something in preference to somebody else having something.

Helen began a diploma in applied science in Melbourne, but after only a year she had to return to Echuca to nurse her ill mother. Two years later she returned to Melbourne to Toorak Teachers College. She then taught in primary schools at Williamstown and Ivanhoe where she encountered huge classes of up to 70 students. At Williamstown she encountered a large number of non-English speakers who were not catered for in schools at that time. At Ivanhoe, she came face to face with a large proportion of students from poor families who had been moved into the former Olympic village.

She then taught at Mount Scopus Memorial College where classes numbered fewer than 30. All these experiences no doubt added to Helen’s growing political consciousness. Helen transferred into the TAFE sector when she became a mother. Although she has been described as someone who was not really a joiner, Helen was so outraged by the sacking of the Whitlam government that she joined the ALP in 1975. In Helen’s words:

It was the feeling that we were not Australia anymore. Gough made people proud to be Australians. Suddenly, it was as if the place where my feet were and always had been, had been chopped out from under me for no reason …

She described her anger at the dismissal as a ‘deep, slow-burning rage’ that galvanised her into action. It was an anger that would fuel Helen’s six-year campaign for the seat of Chisholm which began in 1977 when she ran against the sitting Liberal member, Tony Staley. In 1980 she ran again against the Liberal Graham Harris but was unsuccessful. Undeterred and, despite the fact that three Labor men—Frank Costigan, John Button and Alastair Nicholson—had previously contested Chisholm before her and failed, Helen stood for the seat again in 1983 and won. I should add for the record that the boundaries of Chisholm back then were very different from the ones I now enjoy. It was a fair contest to win it as a Labor member. As a former staff member, Nora Sparrow, said: ‘Helen was never one to shy away from a hard contest.’

What was all the more remarkable was that Helen ran this six-year campaign while teaching full time and completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Swinburne College of Technology and the University of Melbourne. On being elected to parliament, Helen was immediately appointed to the then Joint Committee of Public Accounts. She worked long hours trying to master the paperwork and admitted to what many a member has probably thought when they first entered parliament:

I woke up at 3 am one morning after I’d been in the job for three months and thought, “I can’t do this job. I’ve got too much to learn. I don’t know how to manage it.” Then I thought, what happens if I resign? There’ll be a by-election. We could lose the seat. I can’t resign. So I began thinking out a way to manage. I decided I had to tolerate a whole lot of disorder and within that, to have a method.

The public accounts committee involved a huge amount of work and entailed many hours preparing for public hearings. Helen relished her widespread responsibilities with the PAC and worked tirelessly on them. The workload invigorated her thinking. She was involved in many highly confidential Department of Defence inquiries.

Helen was also a member of the Joint Standing Committee on the New Parliament House from 1983 to 1984. She pushed very strongly for adequate childcare facilities to be provided in the new Parliament House but, unfortunately, was unsuccessful in her quest.

One of the highlights of Helen’s parliamentary career was the leading role she played in the PAC inquiry into the provision of educational facilities for the children of defence department personnel. Her teaching background and passion for education meant that she was able to achieve positive outcomes in this inquiry. Her former staff member, Nora Sparrow, remembers: ‘Helen loved this work and was good at it.’

Helen had some great women colleagues in parliament: Susan Ryan, Rosemary Crowley, Wendy Fatin and Joan Child, to name a few. She worked with them on a number of issues relating to the status of women, including the anti-discrimination act in 1984, an important and groundbreaking piece of legislation.

But one of the greatest achievements of Helen’s political career was the important work she did in the local community. Helen was a hardworking and enthusiastic MP who was very active in her electorate. Her six-year campaign for Chisholm gave her a very good understanding of the needs and aspirations of the local community. Nora Sparrow recalls of Helen: ‘Helen loved her electorate and its constituents and treated them with the greatest of respect.’ According to Nora:

Helen was never happier than when she was able to cut through the red tape and gain a positive outcome for a constituent. She did much work for the local Vietnamese community by making representations on their behalf under the family reunion scheme. She had an abiding interest in health care, worked assiduously for older people and was a constant visitor to the elderly citizens and various aged care facilities in the electorate. With her teaching background and a lifelong interest in education she worked closely with primary and secondary schools and had strong ties with the local Box Hill TAFE.

Her approach to constituent work was to teach people how to empower themselves. Helen once told a journalist:

I’ve been trying to make myself nothing more than a pipeline, a conduit between the people and the power. I tell a constituent who to contact and what the outcome should be. If it’s not that outcome, we go back and go through the process again. What I say is: ‘I’ll show you how—but you do it. Or we’ll do it together.’ I see my role as not trying to make people comfortable, secure and happy, but making them competent.

Helen was a highly intelligent, generous person who promoted tolerance and social justice. She has been described as ‘well read, an ideas person and full of vision’. She was gracious and charming. There was also a fun-loving side to her, accompanied often by a timely wit, which I was on the end of on a couple of occasions and which was very helpful in carrying out the demands of public life. Despite all her hard work and unstinting dedication to her electorate, unfortunately Helen Mayer’s parliamentary career came to an end in 1987. Sitting on a margin of only 0.2 per cent after the 1984 election, the swing against the Hawke government was on and Helen suffered the consequences. However, Helen remained very active in the local community and even tried to win back the seat from Michael Wooldridge in 1989. I worked on Helen’s campaign in 1989 and watched her throw herself in at it full tilt. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful.

Helen was greatly heartened by the election of the Rudd government in November last year, and there is no doubt that she would have ardently embraced the Prime Minister’s apology last week. I send my condolences to Helen’s husband, Hendrick, and her son, Jason, and her granddaughter, Zoe. I would also like to thank her good friends Howard and Marie Hodgens and Nora Sparrow for their unstinting support of Helen and for all their help with this speech. Helen’s life after parliament was also very full and she contributed much to the community. She will be sadly missed.

12:21 pm

Photo of Andrew LamingAndrew Laming (Bowman, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

We remember also a colleague of Helen Mayer, that being Leonard Joseph Keogh. He is a predecessor of mine in the seat of Bowman. Over an 18-year period Len was the classic, traditional local member. I was lucky enough to meet him during the last two or three years, in my first term. Unfortunately, Len passed away in October last year. He was remembered at a very large congregation and service at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church at Cleveland on 17 October last year. Former members from both sides of the political divide gathered there. I quote substantially from a speech delivered by his son Michael. Len received the classic Brisbane Catholic education at St Laurence’s from the Christian Brothers. He gained his junior certificate in 1947 and became a structural draftsman at the Evans Deakin shipyard. He completed a certificate in structural engineering drafting in 1950 and worked for several firms before starting his own, a concrete firm, which he retained up until he entered parliament for the first time.

Len had an extraordinary history of service to the ALP. Obviously, it began with his joining in 1949. A decade and a half later, like so many first-time politicians, he was given the almost impossible task of running against a formidable opponent from the other side of politics—in this case Jim Killen, in 1966, in the seat of Moreton. That was a very difficult election given the Vietnam War was a major issue that year. But, like so many determined individuals, Len stood again, this time in Bowman, and was successful. He was the member for Bowman for six years, from 1969 to 1975, and then for a second stretch from 1983 to 1987. In that time Len saw an extraordinary series of changes in Australian politics federally and also the hegemony of the National Party in Queensland. Len returned after politics to a life in local government as the then Chairman of the Redland Shire Council from 1991 to 1994, prior to that job shifting over to become that of mayor. He was also the Chairman of the South West Queensland Electricity Board.

It is worth remembering that Len in fact came from a political family. His father, John, of Irish background was the Mayor of South Brisbane prior to 1927, when the two Brisbane councils were amalgamated. John ran unsuccessfully against William Jolley of the bridge fame. It was a great passion of Len’s to one day also be a mayor of his southern Brisbane area. He was chairman but the term ‘mayor’ was not created until after he had left public office.

He was born in the Great Depression. His son Michael gave, in the eulogy delivered by him, a fantastic description of life for a young boy in the 1930s. I would like to read that into Hansard:


for the Keogh family—

were spent going to Grandma’s at Sandgate, and-the Broadway picture theatre at Woolloongabba. He was in the Church Youth Club and played tennis. He was also a keen fan of the cricket. Family holidays were spent at Margate. He joined the school cadet corps and watched his older brothers go to war whilst the girls worried at home.

Len’s first job was as a cadet draughtsman at a shipping yard ...

A very earthy beginning. As we would later see in his maiden speech, he had a real focus on some of the big picture issues of infrastructure and of hospitals and universities, which we realise now not only involved important forethought but were very important developments for Queensland given the rate of population growth.

Len met his lovely wife, Joan—who lives today in the suburb of Ormiston—at the famed Cloudland, where, according to reports, he literally swept her off her feet. What better story can there be of this couple than that they already had six children under the age of nine when Len first ran for politics. He was to go on to run 11 times for public office. That can only speak as an extraordinary tribute to his wife and his children. As I said, Len was not successful the first time, but that defeat did not deter him, and that quality became very characteristic of Len Keogh.

Throughout his career he noted the difficulties faced by talented members of the community who aspire to public representation but who, despite their qualities and hard work, lack the backing of large organisations or, as we refer to them now, factions. He wanted parliament to be truly representative of the wider cross-sections of the community, and I think Len Keogh represented just that. He knew that healthy democracy requires the voices of ordinary people to be heard and acted upon. When we think about our parliamentarians, that debate about diversity continues to this day.

Len was the traditional politician, taking calls late at night like a family GP. He had the understanding of the needs of people. I would like to read into Hansard the names of a number of groups of which he was patron: the Yurara Redland art group; the Redland Indians baseball club; the Redlands cricket club; the junior rugby league club; the Redland and Capalaba soccer clubs; the ‘Muddies’ cricket and rugby union clubs; the Alexandra Hills Australian Rules football club; the Capalaba, Cleveland, Birkdale and Wynnum scouts associations; and the Cleveland Guides. You do not see too many free nights there to spend at home with family.

There was a plaque on the wall of Len Keogh’s office with the quote: ‘Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.’  It reflected on the fact that there are many unsuccessful men with talent, that unrewarded genius is almost a proverb and that there are many educated failures, but that persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. As his son Michael recalls, Len’s persistence and determination were abundantly evident in his battle against prostate cancer. He never gave up trying every possible treatment, with his family at his side to provide loving support and encouragement. He was a gentle and amiable man. He has a record of a lifetime of dedicated and diligent service to the Redlands. He will be missed by everyone who lives in our area.

Debate (on motion by Ms Grierson) adjourned.