Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


Forbes, Dr Alexander James (Jim), CMG, MC

3:59 pm

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to express my condolences, as we all have, on the passing of Dr Jim Forbes. In talking about his life and his service, I want to celebrate someone I think was a most remarkable Australian. I had the great privilege of being acquainted with Jim through the Liberal Party. I will never forget the first time I met him. I was a newly minted president of the Liberal Party and he was the trustee of the party's assets. He took me aside into a little anteroom and he said, 'Son, never spend money you haven't got.' I took that to heart. It's clear from his political disposition that he strongly believed in that in public and private practice. More importantly, we sprung what I would call a modest friendship. Jim always had a wise set of words and ideas and he was an inspiration. I was fortunate enough to be invited into a small group of which he was a member, and we would meet a few times a year to discuss politics and, I guess, learn from those who had trod the path before.

I have to say that I am a little ashamed that I never quite knew how remarkable Jim Forbes was until I actually attended his funeral a few weeks ago. It was a celebration of a life well lived, and it made me humble in recognising the service that this man had given this country over so many decades. It's not often you hear of people who enlist in a royal military college; go to the second-best school in South Australia, St Peter's College—that's a uniquely South Australian story, Mr President; go and study at Oxford and become a doctor of political science; go into the ministry and serve under a number of prime ministers with great distinction—and have the courage to deport Joe Cocker; and then continue to serve the party, the Liberal Party, and the people of Australia in whatever capacity they can, being so generous in sharing their wisdom, their mentorship, their ideas and their experience with newcomers to the political scene. It makes you recognise that some people really do squeeze the marrow right out of life, and Jim Forbes was one of those people.

I'm humbled to have met him, and I'm greatly appreciative of the time that he was willing to spend with me and with others. I will always remember his advice. I express my condolences to his family and I give thanks for a life very, very well lived.

Question agreed to, honourable senators standing in their places.


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