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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 409


Mr JOHN COBB (Calare) (12:21): Sometimes the people from the Central West of New South Wales, like all Australians, look at Canberra from time to time, sometimes to see if their local member is doing his job and for other reasons. The Central West of New South Wales, and Bathurst in particular, has spent a few years looking down here because they had someone here of whom they were very proud, and that was obviously Peter Veness.

Peter started his journalistic career at the Bathurst Advocate. He was there from 2004 to 2006. One of the reasons locals were proud of Peter was that they knew he was respected, and he was a very young person to have reached the heights of journalism that he did in the parliamentary gallery. It takes most people a lifetime to do that; he did it in a very short time. His family, who still live in Bathurst, are wonderful people. Pete's father, David, managed the RSL in Bathurst until recently. The way they took finding out that Pete had that rare form of brain tumour was as amazing as the way in which Peter himself dealt with it. Quite apart from his ability as a journalist and his ability to talk straight to everyone regardless of their place in politics, what he wrote—live a life of no regrets, don't die wondering—was amazing stuff. It was incredible for someone who knew he had nowhere to go. It does not change the fact that the last thing he wrote, if I recall correctly, was that he still wanted to live. I guess it is a touch of reality that most of us who are a lot older than he was probably have not retained anything like the respect he gained in a very short time. It was not just about politics; it was about good and accurate reporting—which does not always happen. I think all of us would say that. I think he set a standard not just for us; he set a standard that those in the gallery, some of whom are a lot older than him, could take note of. The whole of the region will join me in offering our condolences to David and Cheryl and particularly to his wife, Bec.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms K Livermore ): I thank members for their heartfelt tributes.