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Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Page: 9378

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (MaranoaSecond Deputy Speaker) (19:29): I rise tonight to pay tribute to three wonderful ABC employees who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in the remote part of the Lake Eyre basin, just over the border from the western areas of my electorate of Maranoa. I was absolutely shocked and gutted when I first heard the news. The news came through to me on text first from my son, because he is married to an ABC journalist who got the news very late at night. I knew from the text and then from the voicemail that he left on my phone just how gutted they were. For the rest of the day and I think it will go on for some time, I felt empty. I spoke to a number of ABC reporters in western Queensland. People just felt lost. Certainly, I was lost for words, but we felt lost because we had lost three wonderful members of the ABC family.

We lost Paul Lockyer with his 40 years of experience. I will never forget the work that he, together with Gary Ticehurst, the pilot, and John Bean, the cameraman, put together when nature showed its wonderful beauty in the outback two years ago. That DVD is now available commercially—I am told actually it is probably one of the biggest sellers of any memorabilia of Lake Eyre for travellers into the outback and in my part of the world into places like Birdsville and Bedourie. What skill the cameraman John Bean had; what skill the pilot Gary Ticehurst had—with Paul Lockyer's dedication to putting the story together and telling it just as it was.

One of the other things I would like to say about them is that they were prepared to go out into rural and remote parts of Australia. They went into the most remote parts of this nation to report back and bring vision to us—not only to those of us with great interest but all across Australia and I think some of their vision went around the world. I also mention the wife of John Bean, Pip Courtney. I know Pip quite well; she lives in Queensland but she does a lot of work on Landline—one of those wonderful programs. It is a must-see if you have a rural seat. She, I know, like all of us was just gutted to think that a wonderful man like John Bean could lose his life in such tragic circumstances. I know Pip will go on and continue her work as a member of the ABC family and I certainly say to Pip: I know you will keep the work up—the wonderful work that John would have wanted you to do, albeit I know this period is very, very tough for you.

Could I also say that the team also not only recorded the wonderful beauty of the outback when nature delivers but they also recorded nature's fury in this summer of natural disasters just passed. They were in my electorate of Maranoa; they were in Toowoomba; they followed the flood waters down the Murray-Darling Basin system. They were first into Grantham. Importantly, they told the story as it was and showed us the vision. They were professionals. There was no spin, no sense of sensationalism. It was just a straight play. I think that is why they had been so successful in their careers.

I extend my condolences to the families, the next of kin and to the whole of the ABC family. The three men will always be remembered. They died in a beautiful part of Australia. It is a part that I love to go and visit because I know how beautiful and serene it can be and how quiet. There is another beauty in the outback; there is another beauty in the Simpson Desert, that city folk often do not get an opportunity to witness. The work that they have done out there is now available on DVD. I commend it anyone out there who wants to see some of the wonderful work that they have done. It is available in ABC shops and in tourist outlets. The first is called Lake Eyre and I think the other one is The Deluge. I commend it to you if people are listening tonight, if we are on broadcast.

Tragically we no longer have them but they died doing what they loved doing and what they did so well. My condolences go to the whole of the ABC family and of course more importantly to the families, the next of kin and the closest friends of the three, Paul Lockyer, Gary Ticehurst and John Bean.

Main Committee adjourned at 19:3 6