Monday, 24 June 2013
Hodgman, Hon. William Michael, AM, QC
I also want to pay my respects to the family of the late Michael Hodgman and to join in the celebration of his life and the things he did for Australia and his state. My involvement with Michael, from the other end of the country back in the eighties, was slightly different to anything that has so far been described by other senators. I always think that loyalty is one of the greatest human qualities. Those who go the extra mile in prosecuting that loyalty, often at significant effort and cost to themselves, should, I think, never be forgotten.
My comments only make some sense if I set the scene of the period in politics in Queensland. It was in the middle to late 1980s, when in Queensland the Liberal and National parties were not quite as close to each other as they are now—of course, nowadays we are one big, happy family. But in those days, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen ruled Queensland as a National Party premier without the involvement or support of the Liberal Party, things were, for those of us in the Liberal Party in Queensland at the time, fairly cold. We often felt that we were friendless.
It was in the 1986 campaign that Bjelke-Petersen, as premier, was campaigning for re-election and was spending a significant amount of his time attacking the Liberal Party rather than the Labor Party. But to aid his campaign he actually had the Liberal Premier of Western Australia at the time, Sir Charles Court, and the Liberal Premier of Tasmania at the time, Robin Gray, come to Queensland and campaign for the National Party against the Liberal Party. So we at times felt quite friendless, particularly in North Queensland, because at the time there was no sitting Liberal member—state or federal—north of the city of Brisbane.
In the north we used to run quite energetic campaigns with very limited resources. We had a group of people who would travel almost to the end of the country to show their loyalty to the Liberal Party and to support the Liberal Party campaign. I mentioned recently in another meeting that Albie Schultz, the current member for Hume, was one of those. We were always delighted in the north when Michael Hodgman and his mates Bruce Goodluck and Max Burr would come to North Queensland.
I remember they came to Townsville on several occasions, once to Cairns and once to Mackay. It was, as Senator Bushby said, at the time that Michael Hodgman and Bruce Goodluck were known as the odd couple. Max Burr came in. They had a name; I think it might have been 'The Three Amigos'. I clearly remember to this day that they came and did an almost burlesque comedy and dance show at what was then the dinner comedy theatre in Townsville. The owners at the time gave us the theatre for the night. These three ran the dinner comedy show as a fundraiser for the Liberal Party. As well as all of Michael's other qualities—which everyone has talked about and on which I, from a knowledge of him, cannot help but agree and agree very strongly—his stage show with Bruce Goodluck and Max Burr was something else. They were great friends when they did not need to be. They had come from the other end of the country just to help their Liberal Party colleagues run election campaigns and try and raise some money. Those days and thoughts, I am sure, are long since gone.
I, for one, and those of us who were involved at that time will never forget the kindness, commitment and loyalty of Michael Hodgman and his two colleagues in what they did for us. It is something that can only be the work of someone who has a deep commitment to the things he believes in and a great loyalty to his causes and the principles and philosophies close to him. I extend my condolences to Will Hodgman, who I know. I do not know the rest of the family but I do extend my condolences to Will and all of his family on the passing of a great Australian.