Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Parliamentary Representation


4:23 pm

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I would like to add my remarks to the comments that have been made by senators on this side and on the other side as well. I have worked in this place with Kim for 11 years, but, for the 20 years before that, I worked with Kim as an AMWU organiser and state secretary. I always remember that, during the time when Kim was in the portfolio of industry, manufacturing and science, he was a frequent visitor to Tasmania. He came and visited the workplaces where I represented members, and I particularly remember a couple of those.

I remember a car component facility in Launceston that was having a lot of difficulty with finance and getting orders, and Kim stepped up to the plate. He got a delegation of Toyota and Ford executives together, he got the union representatives together and he got the ministers in the Victorian state parliament together, and we had a meeting. Out of that meeting, a number of things were forged, and that business continued to thrive for many years thereafter. Unfortunately, with the demise of the car industry, that business is no longer operating, but it was thanks to Kim that it got a number of years after that.

The other one was the Cadbury factory, which I had the ability to look after. That was probably one of my favourite places to look after. I remember many hours down there at that factory with Kim, talking about manufacturing, science, industry and innovation. At that time, the food industry was going through a lot of innovation, getting rid of a lot of manual handling work and with a lot of machinery and robotics coming in. We always called on Kim as part of the AMWU to come and look at these places to work through processes with us.

He will be missed here. Senator Pratt said his booming voice was never shy in the chamber, nor in our meetings. Obviously, in our caucuses you always heard Kim when he wanted to speak. I do hope he gets the opportunity to come back, but I know that he will look forward to being able to walk his two little grandsons to school almost every day now. I know he missed that during the long lockdowns when he stayed here in Canberra. I thank you, Kim, for your contribution in your public life and also to the union movement.


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