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Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Page: 38

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:06): I join with the Prime Minister in offering my condolences to the family and friends of the late Jim Carlton. I acknowledge, too, that many members of the government will feel a personal sense of loss with the passing of Jim. Jim Carlton was a gentleman and a gentle man. In the old chamber down the hill, and here in this place, he served the people of Mackellar, his party and our country with decency and distinction.

As a former health minister and shadow Treasurer and a leading economic voice in the Liberal Party for more than a decade, Jim Carlton was a deeper thinker and more thoughtful spokesman than most. In an era when many of his contemporaries were urging an adoption of a Gordon Gekko 'greed is good' world view, Carlton maintained a belief in economic policy as an instrument of equity. He rejected what he called the Darwinian policies of Thatcherite Britain and he was equally critical of the disastrous impacts of Reaganomics. Instead, his economic hero was the great German Ludwig Erhard, who advocated a market economy delivering social justice—or, as Carlton himself put it: 'I've only ever regarded economic issues as a means to achieving social outcomes.'

The Hawke-Keating ascendancy may have denied Jim more than a few fleeting months as a minister, but when he left the parliament to take up his new role as Secretary-General of the Australian Red Cross, he did so without a trace of bitterness or regret; only grateful thanks and good humour. In fact, in his farewell speech as the member for Mackellar, in response to many warm tributes bestowed by parliamentary friends and foes alike, Jim noted that his seat had only changed hands once in the preceding 44 years. He went on:

I am so moved by these remarks that I even considered not handing in my resignation, but I did see Bronwyn in the gallery and I did not want to cause any trouble there.

A wise man! Jim Carlton led a life of intellect, energy and integrity. He will be mourned and missed by many. We bid him a respectful farewell today. May he rest in peace.

The SPEAKER: As a mark of respect, I ask all present to signify their approval by rising in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—

The SPEAKER: I thank the House.

Debate adjourned.