House debates

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Sullivan, Mr Jonathan Harold (Jon)

10:24 am

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to pay tribute to my friend and former colleague Jon Sullivan. Jon Sullivan passed away just a couple of weeks ago, on 17 January, aged just 70. It was a privilege to serve alongside Jon in this place. He was a nice bloke. He was committed to his electorate. He was passionate. He was a person of ideas. He was someone who entered federal parliament after having a career in the Queensland parliament as the member for Glass House. Even though he was born in the Illawarra in New South Wales, he was a passionate Queenslander. He always stood up for his electorate.

He was elected in 2007 with a quite extraordinary swing—a double-digit swing of 10.6 per cent, which is something that not many people can say. He continued, whilst in that electorate, to be a strong advocate to me as the then Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development for projects like the town centre in Caboolture that was transformed, for upgrades to the Bruce Highway, including the Gateway Upgrade North project in order that people could get home quicker to that area, and for taking traffic off the roads with the expansion of the rail network, which would indirectly benefit his electorate through the Redcliffe rail line, which was first promised in 1895, but it took a federal Labor government, working with the state Labor government and the Moreton Bay Regional Council in his electorate, to deliver it.

During his term in this place, he served on the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Committee and always played a constructive role. Jon was passionate about the arts. The community where he continued to live is a very creative one. I continued to have contact with him at the Woodford Folk Festival—a magnificent gathering. Unfortunately, it was unable to be held this year because of COVID. But you'd run into Jon, who was always there to hear the great Bob Hawke, who appeared there each and every year. He was a good mate of Kevin Rudd, who helped recruit him as the candidate for the seat. Kevin knew him from his time running the Queensland Premier's department and being chief of staff to Wayne Goss. Kevin said this: 'Jon was a quintessentially good man. His care for his community and his fellow human beings was as deep as it was real. There was not an element of fakery about him.' May he rest in peace. I send regards to his wife, Carryn, and we, on behalf of the whole of the parliament, wish her well.