Senate debates

Tuesday, 8 December 2020


Madigan, Mr John Joseph

4:25 pm

Photo of Sarah HendersonSarah Henderson (Victoria, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I too am very proud to rise to pay tribute to the late John Madigan. John was very proud of his blacksmith heritage. As we've heard in this condolence motion, he was humble and he was a gentleman. He led the Democratic Labor Party back from the wilderness, winning the sixth Senate spot at the 2010 federal election. He was the first DLP senator to be elected since the defeat of Frank 'vote Mac back' McManus and Jack Little in 1974.

In his first speech, John Madigan himself quoted the expression 'It's been a long time between drinks.' He was very proud of his part in the re-emergence of the Democratic Labor Party, though, of course, as we know, he quit the party in 2014 to start his own party, John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party. John spoke of his path to this place when only 12 months prior he was forging pinch-bars for Munro Engineering's post drivers. He paid tribute to the blacksmiths, foundry men and wheelwrights of his childhood for revealing the skills and wonders of their craft to a wide-eyed young lad.

I actually thought of John Madigan recently when I was at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat for the launch of their master plan, not far from where John died, in Hepburn Springs. With the support of some $10 million from the Morrison government, a grant to Sovereign Hill is establishing a centre for rare arts and forgotten trades, the craft centre, which will be a major piece of the first stage of its 20-year master plan. Of course, this celebrates the trades which John held so dear.

John was concerned about a lot of things in his community, particularly drugs. He said, and made this very clear over and over again, that they were a scourge of our society, causing devastation to families and individuals and causing untold harm to our economy and our industries. John was passionate about manufacturing and farming, and, along with Bob Katter MP and former senator Nick Xenophon, he formed what he described as the non-partisan Australian Manufacturing and Farming Program. It was in this context that I had some dealings with John, when I was formerly the member for Corangamite. He was really focused on helping senators and members to gain a better appreciation for the men and women whose hard work keeps this nation running.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott described John as a very decent man, with an old-fashioned sense of courtesy and respect. He served just one six-year term in the Senate, being defeated at the 2016 general election, but he made a very big impact, made a very significant contribution and clearly, from what we have seen in this debate today, is remembered very fondly around the corridors of this parliament.

I also want to convey my sincere condolences to John's wife, Teresa, and his children, Lucy and Jack, who paid tribute to their husband and father, saying, 'He was a generous and compassionate man who gave his life to the greater good and had great faith in the people of Australia.' John died way too young, at the age of just 53. My dad died at 58, so I know, Lucy and Jack, it will leave a very big hole in your hearts and in your lives to have lost your dad at such a young age. All of Australia has certainly a lost a great gentleman in John Madigan. May he rest in peace.


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