Senate debates

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Bailey, Mr Raymond Frederick

9:10 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

A wonderful Tasmanian, a former president of the Legislative Council in Tasmania, Ray Bailey, passed away late last month. Tonight I would like to talk about Ray and the wonderful contributions he made. He was a man held in high regard by all who knew him. He was a man of kindness, integrity and fairness. Ray Bailey has been described as a true gentleman, mild mannered, respectful, gracious and cultivated. I would agree with all of these observations.

Above all, Ray Bailey truly understood what it meant to represent the people of his electorate. He was not out for himself or any kind of personal gain. He actively contributed to the betterment of his electorate during his time as a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council, and his work continued when he became President of the Legislative Council. Ray was elected to the Legislative Council as the member for Cornwall, now known as Rosevears, in May 1990. He was subsequently elected President of the Legislative Council in 1997, a position that he held with distinction for a number of years.

Ray got into politics for all the right reasons. His desire was to serve his electorate and deliver the best outcomes for his constituents. He did this through hard work and commitment, but he did not do this alone. I am sure that the ever-constant love and support of his wife, Lynne, and daughters, Louise, Alice, Jane and Sarah, played a huge role in Ray's success in his life and career. Ray was a wonderful family man. He and his wife were sweethearts at school and went on to become a shining example of true love throughout the years.

Ray and Lynne's story is one of partnership, recently described by a friend as a true love story. It was said that they worked together on the farm which they had for many years at Riverside, they worked together in bringing up their four daughters in a loving home and they worked together for Ray to be elected to the Legislative Council and for him to be re-elected. All they achieved, they achieved together, and I believe they had 50 years of marriage.

Ray Bailey was a true Independent. He had impeccable principles and a fantastic moral conscience. I had the pleasure of working with and for Ray on his initial campaign when he ran for that position in the Legislative Council. I was constantly impressed by his commitment and dedication. I would have to say that he was a man who never disappointed me. After all my years in politics I know that you cannot often say that you have not been disappointed by those that you have supported.

Being a member of the Labor Party, it is not always common to go out and support an Independent, but I believe that my judgment in supporting Ray for that Legislative Council seat was the right one. In all that he did he was inspirational. He encouraged me to never compromise my own beliefs and values, no matter how difficult things became, and I feel that he certainly influenced me to do that in my own political career.

Throughout Ray's political career he achieved many great things, the greatest of which I believe was his ability to remain the same grounded person throughout his entire career. He never forgot the importance of truth and integrity, and he never forgot what was truly important in life: his family. I too have tried in my career to follow his example, by always staying true to my core beliefs and my Christian values and by aspiring to put my family first. Ray Bailey achieved so much in his lifetime. As a young boy he was a student at Avoca Primary School in Lyons and he attended Launceston High School in Bass and then the University of Tasmania, where he gained a Bachelor of Laws degree. He worked in private practice as a lawyer for a short time until he was appointed as a solicitor to the Launceston City Council, a position he held for approximately 12 months. Ray then moved to Clarke and Gee and became a partner on 1 July 1967, a position he held until May 1990. He practised in the conveyancing commercial field, where he contributed greatly to the success and expansion of the firm.

Aside from politics and law, another of Ray's keen interests was football. He played for the North Hobart Football Club in the Tasmanian Football League whilst in the south of the state attending university. He also played for the Launceston Football Club and was deputy chairman of the Northern Tasmanian Football League, of which he was a life member. During his distinguished football career he represented Tasmania and was a member of the North Hobart team of the century.

He was a member of the board of the Queen Victoria Hospital for 18 years and chairman of that board for two years. He was chairman of the Licensing Board of Tasmania for three years and deputy chairman of the Forest Practices Tribunal for three years. I too shared a couple of those experiences, being a member of the Launceston General Hospital board, which incorporated the old Queen Victoria Hospital. As a former member of the Licensing Board of Tasmania, I know the work that he did as a very valued chair of that organisation. He was one of the conveyancing counsels of the Supreme Court and had also been an honorary legal adviser to many sporting, cultural and charitable organisations in Northern Tasmania.

As I have said, Ray was an asset to the Tasmanian people and will be sadly missed by all who knew him and all those whose lives he touched through politics, through football, as a lawyer or as a family man. I would like to take this opportunity to put on the record my sincere condolences to Ray's wife Lynne, his daughters, his friends and his extended family. Ray has been remembered fondly by all who knew him, and at his funeral service the church was packed with people from all walks of life and all political parties. It was a mark of the respect in which Ray Bailey was held. As I said, Ray Bailey was not on his own. He and Lynne were always considered within the community to be a team together. A long-time friend and parliamentary colleague of Ray's, the Hon. Don Wing, also a former President of the Legislative Council, said that:

… Mr Bailey had been an astute lawyer, a conscientious Cornwall and then Rosevears MLC and a friend of "utmost integrity".

Former Senator Peter Rae said that Ray:

… demonstrated that … you don't have to be crude or rude to make a point and you don't have to be negative to achieve change—the strength of the argument can be in the material presented rather than the decibels of its presentation.

Ray Bailey was one of those rare individuals who we do not come across very often in this world—someone who has a real impact on your life. I am grateful to have known him. I worked with him within the community, and I respect him and the work that he did and I know his legacy will not be forgotten by Tasmanians. Vale Ray Bailey.