House debates

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Constituency Statements

Cook, The Hon. Adrian George Hingston, QC, Budget

11:08 am

Photo of Gai BrodtmannGai Brodtmann (Canberra, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

It is an honour to be able to stand here today in my final days as a parliamentarian to remember the extraordinary life of Adrian George Hingston Cook QC. Adrian's intelligence was far beyond normal. Adrian's teachers could see his potential from a very young age. He sat for his leaving certificate twice, as the first time he was too young to attend university. At the tender age of 17, he enrolled at the University of Sydney to study arts and pursue his dream of becoming a teacher.

On completing his degree, again his age held him back. He was too young to graduate from university, because back then you had to be 21 to graduate. So what else was there to do but to apply for and accept a scholarship program to study law for a further three years. When Adrian did finally graduate, he did so with a double degree in arts and law. It is at the point of graduating university where this remarkable life story gets really fascinating. Adrian gained employment as a judge's associate and became a barrister when he was in his 20s. In 1963, he became the youngest barrister ever to win a murder trial at the Privy Council in London; he was just 33. This was an extraordinary man.

Adrian spent a lengthy time working in the Australian Army Legal Corps, dealing mainly with complex and difficult courts martial during the Vietnam War. He was later appointed Queen's Counsel in 1977 and then a judge in the Family Court. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1985. During his time as a judge, he made many landmark decisions and presided over cases that are still studied by law students today. Adrian eventually retired and moved to Norfolk Island, where he remained active in the community, providing legal advice and taking on the odd legal case. He also served as a minister in the Norfolk Island government and married his beloved wife, Lynn Quintal. Adrian was one of Norfolk Island's jewels. He was an asset to the community and he will be greatly missed. Vale Adrian George Hingston Cook QC.

For the rest of my time, I will focus on the budget and the complete and utter contempt that this government has once again shown for Canberra. Once again we're seeing cuts to the Public Service as a result of decentralisation. Once again we're seeing huge job losses in a number of our agencies—Veterans' Affairs, Human Services, Agriculture and Water. And once again we are getting an insultingly small amount of the $100 billion infrastructure spend. Canberra: we get $50 million! Of that, $30 million is for upgrades to the Kings Highway. The Kings Highway isn't even in the ACT. This budget underscores once again that this government has no respect for our servants of democracy and no respect for our nation's capital.