Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 February 2024


Lightfoot, Mr Philip Ross

3:38 pm

Photo of Don FarrellDon Farrell (SA, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Trade and Tourism) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That the Senate records its sorrow at the death, on 11 January 2024, of Philip Ross Lightfoot, a former senator for Western Australia, and places on record its gratitude for his service to the parliament and the nation, and tenders its sympathy to his family in their bereavement.

I rise on behalf of the government to acknowledge the passing on 11 January of former senator Philip Ross, better known as Ross, Lightfoot. Senator Lightfoot served as a senator for Western Australia from 19 May 1997 until 30 June 2008, being appointed following the death of Senator John Panizza. While he represented Western Australia in this place, Senator Lightfoot was in fact born across the border, in Port Lincoln, South Australia, on 11 August 1936 to John Lightfoot and Thelma Forrest.

Senator Lightfoot's life before entering the Senate was a varied one. He undertook his schooling at the Port Lincoln primary school and high school before leaving at age 13 and eventually undertaking further study at both the Adelaide and the Kalgoorlie mining school. At age 15, in 1951, he joined the Citizen Military Forces, serving as a rifleman for several years, and later found work in the South Australian Mounted Police. During this time he served in the honour guard for Queen Elizabeth during two state visits, events which he later said in his valedictory speech in this place were foundational in developing his lifelong and passionate monarchist views.

Senator Lightfoot later went on to manage and own properties across Western Australia. He also had extensive involvement in the mining industry as the founding chairman of Southern Goldfields Mining Co and as a director of Eureka Minerals. From 1986 to 1997 Senator Lightfoot served in both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council of Western Australia. Following his appointment as a senator in 1997, Senator Lightfoot served on a large number of parliamentary committees, including the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, and the Finance and Public Administration Committee. He also served as a temporary chair of committees throughout much of his tenure in the Senate.

Outside of the Senate, Senator Lightfoot was passionate about a number of issues, including being a patron of the Extremely Disabled War Veterans Association of Australia, and was appointed a Knight of Grace of Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. Senator Lightfoot was a strong believer in the proposal that Western Australia should secede from the Commonwealth, declaring this during his time in the parliament of Western Australia. However, by the time he left this place in 2008 he did express a softening in his views and, despite this, he remained an ardent supporter of his home state throughout his long career.

Senator Lightfoot dedicated a significant amount of his adult life to representing the people of Western Australia in both the state and federal parliaments, and today we recognise that service. On behalf of the government I extend my condolences to his family, including his wife, Anne, and his children. Vale Senator Philip Ross Lightfoot.


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