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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 405

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (12:04): On indulgence—I would like to offer my condolences for the death of Peter Veness to his family and to his wife, Bec. Like the previous speaker, the member for Mayo, the first time that I met Peter Veness was at the doors of Parliament House. I concur with the member for Mayo that he never let me, as a new MP in 2007, get off lightly in the questions that he asked. He also—and this was a real part of his nature—never followed the lead of the other journalists on the door, with many of the questions coming very much from left field. They were sometimes ones that I was not prepared for. I believe that that showed Peter's tenacity. After that we did manage to move on from some of those difficult questions. We had a lot of conversations outside the doors. What struck me was really that he was a bit of a go-getter. He was certainly a go-getter who wanted to throw himself into everything that he did. Certainly, with his diagnosis of cancer, I think I got to see an enormous courage in how he battled that.

I know that a lot has been said of his Twitter account, which says that he was no-one special, but certainly—having had time to meet him and have conversations with him over the last four years since I have been in this place—he was someone special. I do not know many people who would be battling cancer at such a young age, having to go through that, who would still be able to get up to go to work in the morning and, more than that, want to go to work in the morning. Every time I spoke to him he was very keen to come back to work, to come in and do what he loved.

Also, he was not going to let the love of his life get away. He was determined to get married to Bec, and I think that shows once again that tenacity but also that love of life and determination that he showed in his work and in his life.

In terms of his commitment to raise money for the cause, once again that was something that he did—not in the more traditional way, I guess, but in his unique way that he always demonstrated, a way that really fitted into always keeping true to himself, which was another thing that I certainly noticed.

He was also a young man who liked to have fun. I was not on the 2007 campaign bus, but, while a lot of the journalists have kept under wraps what happened on that bus, it does sound as if Peter was the entertainment on that and had a lot of fun with everyone on it.

I believe that he showed so much courage and commitment and, from talking and hearing about his family, that they—and obviously his wife, Bec—also showed such courage and commitment to fighting cancer. I offer my deep condolences to Bec and to Peter's family and wish them the best one can hope for in these difficult times.