House debates

Monday, 22 October 2018

Statements by Members

Cunningham, Mr Barry Thomas

4:25 pm

Photo of Russell BroadbentRussell Broadbent (McMillan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Barry Thomas Cunningham was a Labor member for McMillan from 1980 through to 1990 and then 1993 to 1996. He was a friend of mine, a friend of the family and a friend of the community. In his younger days he was a beautiful, beautiful footballer. He should have played for Collingwood, but, coming from a dairy farm family, Dad said, 'Come home. You haven't got time to play with Collingwood. You will play with Nar Nar Goon,' which he did from the age of 14 until he was 38 years of age. And he was also a contractor a farmer himself.

He was more than just a member of parliament. He was one of the new breed of local members who were able to be contacted by their constituency. He was a great fighter for the dairy farmers of his district because he came from a dairy farm. He was a fighter for all that was good about Gippsland. He was the right man for the right time. Of course, I sadly defeated Barry, and it was my role to defeat him in the whirlwind victory of the Howard government in 1996.

We were friends; we remained friends till his death. However, one of the best eulogies I have heard in my life was delivered about Barry by his brother, Jerry. Jerry, I say to you: you honoured your brother, you honoured your family, you honoured the community. Vale Barry Thomas Cunningham.