Senate debates

Tuesday, 8 December 2020


Madigan, Mr John Joseph

4:04 pm

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters) Share this | Hansard source

I want to briefly associate myself with the very fine words that have been put on the record today in this chamber in relation to John Madigan. I offer my condolences to his family, particularly Teresa, Lucy, Jack and Carmel, and to other loved ones who miss John Madigan.

We've heard a lot about John Madigan being a man who represented another time in some ways, as Senator Wong said. I think that she meant that in a very good way in terms of some of the values he represented and some of the issues he stood up for. I won't go over those things, except to say that the DLP has been a very significant part of Australian political history. Of course, John will forever have the legacy as someone who, for at least a period of time, resurrected the DLP, as has been mentioned, many years after it was thought that they would never grace this place.

Apart from reflecting on John's background as a blacksmith and boilermaker, which has been done, I want to deliver a bit more of a personal message to his family about the time in which I got to know him and the character I saw. John was a man who loved his family, loved his country, loved his community and loved his state. He was a man of deep personal faith and conviction, and he was prepared to stand up for those personal convictions, even when they were unpopular, and he was prepared to advocate for them. He was hardworking, authentic, honest, compassionate and decent. 'A gentleman' sums him up. He was a good man. Those are the legacy items that his family can be most proud of. All of the other things he achieved in his extensive career, both prepolitics and in this place, it is his fundamental sense of decency that I believe they can be most proud of.

Senator Wong mentioned his great respect for the institution of the Senate. I certainly saw that. I think that was deeply held. He and I together often used to rage against the Greens. He would have a lot of arguments with the Greens, notwithstanding that Senator Hanson-Young talked about some areas where they had a fair degree of agreement. But he would rage against the Greens. In his respect for this place I remember him in hushed tones sometimes raging in particular about a couple of senators in the Greens. He was completely shocked that they would come into this place not wearing a tie. I point again to Senator McKim, who is backing up the case. I remember him saying, 'How can they come into this place and not wear a tie?' When I would occasionally walk into this place without a tie I was always a bit sheepish and hoped John was not looking unfavourably at me, as he was at my Greens colleagues. But that respect for the institution was deeply held and it was reflected in everything he did. The way he treated people was a reflection of who he was. Whether you were on his side in an argument or you were on the opposite side, he always acted with great respect to you as an individual.

There is a DLP official obituary. I'll just extract a small amount. I saw this and thought it sums up a lot of what John stood for. The DLP official obituary from Stephen Campbell says:

John stood up for the unborn child, the unemployed, the refugee. The little guy, in every sense, was John's major concern.

I say to the Senate and to his family that that will forever be his legacy. I hope that in coming years the family will be able to reflect on that enduring legacy. On our nation's behalf I thank them for his service to our country and to this chamber. May he rest in peace.


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