Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Parliamentary Representation


4:11 pm

Photo of Jess WalshJess Walsh (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I too rise to share some reflections on Senator Comrade Kim Carr, in the event that election timing prevents a more fulsome contribution later. I note that Kim has been an absolute giant of the Victorian Labor Party, and I know that, as Kim moves to a life beyond his parliamentary work, he will absolutely continue to be a Labor stalwart, a champion of the mighty Victorian union movement, and a warrior for Australian manufacturing and the opportunities it can bring working people. Anyone in the Victorian Labor Party who has witnessed Kim Carr at a Labor Party conference has seen a man and a machine in action like no other. Always sporting his iconic three-piece suit, Kim Carr could always prosecute an argument on the conference floor and in the Socialist Left caucus—and I can tell you, Mr President, he didn't lose too many! From the moment Senator Carr set foot in this place, he was driven by a commitment to standing up for working people. That was fundamentally why Kim was here, and over the decades he has passionately defended the Australian union movement and maintained incredibly close and strong ties with Victorian unions.

As Senator Wong noted, being the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in the Rudd-Gillard government has undoubtedly been the highlight of Kim's absolutely extraordinary career. Kim championed the links between research, innovation and advanced manufacturing really like no other. It was his vision that brought together the innovation and industry portfolios. As a minister, he was able to put that understanding into practice, defending jobs in the Australian car industry and fighting absolutely tooth and nail to keep those jobs and those skills here in Australia. This really was the portfolio that Kim was made for. As a minister, he read widely; he was voracious. He consulted widely, and everywhere that I go in Victoria today to meet with industry, to meet with higher education or to meet with unions, Kim is consistently recognised in those conversations as an absolute powerhouse of this portfolio.

On a personal note, I want to acknowledge Kim's wife, Carole, who has always been at Kim's side and who is just as passionate about the Australian Labor Party and the union movement as Kim is. I am sure Carole, the kids and the grandchildren will like having Kim at home a little bit more. As a fellow avid gardener, I know his garden will like having Kim at home a little bit more too. But, of course—as I think we all in this place know—if anyone knows Kim, they will know that, while he's retiring from the parliament, he will not be retiring from the mighty Australian labour movement. I look forward to many, many more years of Kim's passion for our party, our unions and our people.


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