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Monday, 26 August 2002
Page: 5576

Ms KING (1:46 PM) —I would like to bring to the attention of the House the passing of a great new Australian: Mr James Mahony—or Don, as he was known to his friends in Ballarat. He served courageously in the Second World War for the RAF as a rear gunner in Lancaster bombers. At war's end he decided to leave his homeland and seek a new life in Australia. Arriving as a £10-Pom, Don threw himself into his adopted country. He travelled from one end of this continent to the other, seeing parts of our country that those who are born here may never have seen. After many years he settled in Ballarat with his wife Barbara. Like every Australian he loved his beer, and he followed the Western Bulldogs football team religiously every weekend.

Don had always wanted to be an Australian citizen but, due to illness and other issues during his life, he never got around to it. Two months ago he came into my office seeking assistance in obtaining his citizenship. Don's application was progressing but, unfortunately, three weeks ago he suffered a stroke. Thanks to John Croft at Australia Post, the citizenship section at DIMIA, and the quick thinking of Chris Roley in my office and Ian Effratt at the City of Ballarat, we were able to get his citizenship through. On Wednesday, 14 August 2002, in a moving bedside ceremony in the Geoffrey Carter Nursing Home, the Mayor of Ballarat, David Vendy, was able to swear Don in as an Australian citizen. Don passed away two minutes after being sworn in. I would like to salute this man in the House today and, on behalf of the people of Ballarat, welcome him as an Australian.