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Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Page: 39


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:09): I rise on indulgence to acknowledge the passing of the former Premier of South Australia, Dr John Bannon, AO. John was born in Bendigo in 1943 and educated in Adelaide. In the 1970s, he held a number of advisory roles in the Whitlam government and then served as a leader on both sides of the House in the South Australian state parliament. He is remembered as South Australia's longest-serving Labor Premier. During his decade in the job, he led the state through some of its toughest times. In his post-politics life, John's roles ranged from writer and academic to being a director of the ABC. He was passionate about history, classical music and cricket. He was a man with a love of tradition and yet a pragmatic reformer. My last meeting with John was in December in his capacity as chairman of the expert advisory panel on reform of the federation. At that time, just a few days before he died, he spoke with all of the wisdom of experience. He was clear, enthusiastic, committed, concerned and engaged about the issues of today and the challenges of tomorrow.

Many have noted the similarities between John's passion for marathons and his approach to life. His daughter Victoria said the advice he once gave her on long-distance running reflected his sense of obligation and his commitment to follow through on a promise. She recalled her father told her: 'You decide at the start how far you want to go, and that's how far you go. If you have to walk, you walk. Even if you have to crawl, you get there.

John Bannon will be remembered as a very honourable man—a man who was modest, self-effacing, caring and generous. To his family, we offer the condolences of this parliament and our nation for a life in service to Australia.