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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 404

Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (12:00): On indulgence—I also rise to briefly add to the remarks that have been well made by others—such as the member for Chifley, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition—about a person who left us far too young, unfortunately and sadly. I do not pretend to have been the closest friend of Pete Veness. This place is a strange place in that you meet and develop acquaintances with all sorts of people who you would not normally do so with outside of this environment. They are unusual acquaintances, because they most often come with different perspectives. Pete was a ferocious pursuer of us at the doors, which is now a famous Canberra practice. Particularly as new MPs, you get practice at talking to TV cameras and so forth. He did not very often let off new MPs who maybe needed a bit of a break and who were not as good as others at performing at the doors; he did not let anyone off. Being pursued by him was somewhat akin to facing a Curtly Ambrose spell on a greenish WACA wicket. That was the way that he pursued people, refusing to let them come out and chant a mantra that may have been sent to them in messages earlier in the day.

He was a very friendly person. He obviously had a lot of passion for life. People who come here usually come here because they are driven. Pete was no exception to that. In 2009, not long after being diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed him, he wrote a beautiful piece. It showed all the raw emotions of someone going through that awful experience of being given a death sentence through something that they cannot control. An interesting line that encapsulates what we should be all about and what we try and ingrain in our children was 'live a life of no regrets'. Albeit that his life was far too short, Bec and his parents David and Cheryl can certainly look back and know that that is what Peter did. He lived a life of no regrets.

I pass on my condolences to his new wife, Bec, and to his parents, David and Cheryl. Having children makes you realise how devastating and difficult it must be to lose one before you go. That is not how it is meant to be. It must be a very difficult time for them. With those short remarks, I add my condolences for the loss of a fine young person, a person who we will remember.