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Thursday, 20 September 2007
Page: 116

Mr NEVILLE (9:51 AM) —Mr Deputy Speaker Causley, I concur with those comments about you and I add my wishes to those of the previous speaker. In this political game there are some people who are called camp followers and some who are called apparatchiks. Then we have another level in the political machine: the people who do all the hard work behind the scenes, people who are always available and who put in unending hours for our political parties and seek no vainglory, as some politicians are prone to do. They do not seek office for themselves but are an essential part of a political party; indeed, they are the fabric of political parties. One such person was Marion Ann Mitchell, who worked in the National Party machine at various levels over the last three decades. Marion was born on 20 October 1940, and she passed away on 27 August, just short of her 67th birthday.

I have vivid memories of Marion. She was the sort of person under whose wing you would put a new and aspiring candidate, a new member who was perhaps floundering a little in trying to find his or her feet or a cabinet minister who needed some reinforcement in an office. She was someone who would organise a conference or campaign with meticulous attention to detail. She worked for a time for former Queensland health minister and opposition leader Mike Horan, but she was one of the stalwarts of the Sparks era. To anyone in the National Party, the Sparks era was one of incredible achievement, discipline and focus. She was one of the stalwarts from that era.

She had a wicked sense of humour and she would not suffer fools gladly. I remember her one day telling a minister to get his ‘arse over here’, and immediately he complied. We will all miss her, and I extend my condolences to her mother, Eileen, who is still alive, her son, Stuart, and his wife, Deborah, and granddaughter, Ava, and her sisters, Diane and Maureen. Maureen and Bob were great friends of mine when they lived in Bundaberg, and I particularly extend my condolences to them.