House debates

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Freind, Major Geoffrey

7:30 pm

Photo of Tim HammondTim Hammond (Perth, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to pay tribute to Geoff Freind, a constituent of the federal electorate of Perth, my electorate, and a major in the Salvation Army, who tragically passed away in September whilst on a preaching tour in Africa. I also give my condolences to his wife, Lyn, and his sons, Ashley, Steven, Nathan and Samuel, as well as his parents, Allan and Mabel. I also acknowledge in the gallery Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Pho, who has come along to listen to this tribute to Major Freind. I acknowledge Lieutenant-Colonel Pho.

Major Freind was a Salvation Army officer for 34 years and spent his life ministering to some of our community's neediest and most marginalised people across Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. He was a 'hands on' officer; he would be regularly be seen on Friday nights in pubs throughout Perth selling the Salvation Army's publication the Warcry, and offering a listening ear as well as a kind face to anyone who needed it. Indeed, I came across Major Freind a couple of times in this context at my local watering hole, The Flying Scotsman in Mount Lawley.

Whilst I did not know him well, by all reports Major Freind was the sort of person who was not having fun unless he was helping others. In his 'time off', or so to speak, he coached local junior basketball teams in my federal electorate of Perth. One of his most recent appointments was as the commanding officer of the Salvation Army's Morley Corps. Indeed, his parents have worshipped at that corps for decades. In this context he was not only a respected community leader in my electorate but one of the local Salvos' favourite sons. As an MP, I can only envy what must have been his profound knowledge of, and deep connection with, his local community.

Major Freind loved people. His three books—Enjoy the Journey, A Great Journey and Thank You for the Journeydrew heavily on his experiences as a Salvation Army officer journeying with and supporting people who were experiencing difficulties. The proceeds of sales from his books went to supporting hospitals in Africa. He sent $60,000 to the Chikankata Hospital in Zambia, which paid for an ambulance, electricity to the mortuary, air conditioning to the pharmacy and plumbing to the operating theatre. He also sent a sea container full of medical supplies, bedding and clothing to the Salvation Army's Howard Hospital in Zimbabwe.

Major Freind also loved God. His deep and unwavering faith motivated the dedication of his life to the service of others. One of the things that his family has emphasised in eulogising him was that: 'Geoff loved Jesus, and wanted the world to know him.'

Sadly and tragically, Major Freind was attacked as he went about his business in Malawi just a few weeks ago. In the aftermath of the incident, the outcry from the community—both the Salvation Army in Western Australia and the community more broadly—is indicative of a man who lived a big life, who profoundly touched many souls. He died in hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 21 September this year, surrounded by his wife and children.

The Freind family has asked for donations in memoriam to be made to the Salvation Army's youth ministry in my home electorate of Morley. The ministry provides a range of services for young people in my electorate, including case management, school holiday programs, mentoring local high school students and running a large youth group on Friday evenings.

In the Salvation Army's official notice of Major Freind's death, they quote Philippians chapter 1, verses 20 to 21:

It is my expectation and hope that I won't be put to shame in anything. Rather, I hope with daring courage that Christ's greatness will be seen in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better—

the Common English Bible.

The Salvation Army has a custom that when one of their own passes away it is referred to as being 'promoted to glory'. For a man who gave his life faithfully serving the lost, the last and the least in God's name, I congratulate Major Freind on his promotion.