House debates

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Statements by Members

Johnson, Mr John Richard 'Johno', KCSG

1:37 pm

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to mourn John 'Johno' Johnson, for 13 years president of the New South Wales Legislative Council—a fine Australian, a great servant of the Labor Party and a friend to many on this side of politics too.

Johno had four great loyalties: to his party, of which he was a life member; to his country, which he served indefatigably in many ways rather than merely in the parliament; to his church—a Papal knighthood was the only honour he ever accepted; and to his family, who have been by his bedside for months now.

For years, Johno did his best to recruit me. After the 1993 election I was an unemployed ex-Hewson staffer. Johno called to say, 'It's time you came back to your true home.' 'I've never left the church,' I replied. 'No,' he said, 'the Labor Party.' 'I could almost be tempted,' I said, 'except for Paul Keating and his crusade to make Australia a republic.' There was a long pause, 'Comrade, there's no hope for you,' he said, and hung up the phone!

There will always be hope for Australia whilst ever we have people in public life who epitomise the ideals of duty and service as Johno Johnson did so magnificently.