House debates

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Statements by Members

Member for O'Connor

1:56 pm

Photo of Darren ChesterDarren Chester (Gippsland, National Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport) Share this | | Hansard source

The House has been blessed to have many members make their valedictory speeches in recent times. I wish all the retiring members all the best as they go on to the next stage of their lives. In particular, I would like to pay my great respects to my good friend and colleague the member for O'Connor, who made his valedictory today.

Tony Crook has been a great champion for regional Australia in the time he has been in this place and I fear that regional Australia—and in fact all regional communities—is losing a great friend. I fear we did not actually see the best of the member for O'Connor in Tony Crook—I think he had a lot more to offer this place in the future and it is with a great deal of sadness that I see him leave.

I understand the difficulties in that awkward commute from Western Australia for a member like Mr Crook, from Kalgoorlie. It is very hard on families and I understand why Tony has made his decision, but I do believe he leaves this place with the respect of members on both sides. He leaves this place having been very true to himself and maintaining his own personal integrity. He set that integrity at a very high level throughout his entire, brief career. I do sincerely—on behalf of the Nationals, the coalition and I think on behalf of the crossbenchers and the Labor Party—extend my very best wishes to Tony in the next stage of his life.

One thing I do look forward to, now that Tony has retired, is joining him around a bonfire. If anyone has ever heard of Mr Crook and his bonfire in the area of Kalgoorlie, you would know that it is something quite spectacular. In fact, I do not think you can stand within 100 metres of it when they first ignite the bonfire, so he is responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than any person in this place. I look forward to joining him at some stage in the future. So, the member for O'Connor, I wish you well. (Time expired)