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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3833


Mr BRUCE SCOTT (MaranoaSecond Deputy Speaker) (19:41): I rise to place on the Hansard record a tribute to a great Australian, certainly a great Queenslander, and the former member for Gregory in the Queensland parliament, the Hon. William Glasson, who was known to all of us as Bill Glasson. Bill passed away last evening. He was born on 23 February 1925. There was no fiercer advocate for the people of outback Queensland or the bush than Bill Glasson, not only in his public life prior to parliament but of course in his time as a minister in the National and Liberal Party governments in Queensland.

Not only was he a great lover of the bush; the bush loved him. Why? Because he grew up in the bush and understood the bush. A part of his early education was through correspondence. He went to state schools and then on to boarding school in Brisbane. He put his career down as jackaroo. I can relate to that having been one myself. He was a station manager and did some droving of livestock between towns way before the modern transport modes were as plentiful as they are today. It was the way livestock was moved from property to property, town to town and so often to market. He was a grazier and a pastoralist and owned land in western Queensland.

He gave generously of his time in public life as well. He served as a councillor on the Winton Shire Council from 1955 to 1957. Winton is that wonderful town in western Queensland, which was in the state seat of Gregory but is now in the state seat of Mt Isa and the federal seat of Maranoa, that gave birth to Banjo Paterson's Waltzing Matilda, the song that we identify as our unofficial national anthem. It was in Winton that the tune to Waltzing Matilda was first played, by Christina Macpherson on a piano. From there Waltzing Matilda has become legendary across Australia.

During the Second World War, Bill Glasson served in the Royal Australian Air Force between 1943 and 1945 as a Flying Officer. His interests included horse sports such as campdrafting and racing. In many parts of outback of Australia campdrafts, rodeos and bush races are the sorts of things people like to participate in on the weekend and they perform a great social function. He was a great supporter of country racing and shows. He was also very supportive of the young and youth organisations. He was the president of the Gregory Turf Club and the Winton Rodeo Association.

There is also a Legacy broadcast, and in my own home town that is quite often on radios during Easter and Good Friday. I am not quite sure whether that is the case out where Bill came from in Longreach. Money would be raised for Legacy on Good Friday to support the great work that Legacy does. Bill always made himself available to help others. He was elected in 1974 as part of that huge swing against the Labor Party in Queensland when the Labor Party was reduced to a cricket team of 11 members.

The other thing I note about Bill, and I knew him quite well as I grew up, is that as Minister for Lands and Forestry in that period he gave people certainty of tenure of their land title. He also oversaw the breakup of some of the large pastoral holdings into ballots that gave other people a start in life when those ballots were determined. It also gave people additional areas of land from large pastoral holdings into smaller holdings.

He oversaw the building of hospitals and schools. He was a great supporter of the decentralisation of Queensland and the legacy he leaves is still to be seen in western Queensland—the base hospitals in Longreach and in Barcaldine. The main roads department has got a base in Barcaldine. These are legacies of Bill Glasson, as the member for Gregory at the time. Of course, Bill is one of those great people who has left a great legacy of building a better place in western Queensland. He will be missed. I pass on my condolences to his family, including Dr Bill Glasson, ophthalmologist. (Time expired)

The SPEAKER: I associate myself with the sentiments expressed by the honourable member for Maranoa. I knew Bill Glasson well and had a very high regard for him.