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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 73

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:36): Colleen McCullough began her writing career with a youthful act of rebellion. Her mother sent her to the shops with enough money for a new winter coat, but fate intervened. She said, 'I went to town with five pounds to buy an overcoat and I saw a Blue Bird portable typewriter for five pounds, so I bought that instead'. That one impulse purchase immeasurably enriched the literary landscape of our nation and our world.

Colleen wrote her first novel while she was a medical researcher, and she lived a life renowned for art, literature, community service and science in a unique and unprecedented way. Young people who were captivated by The Thorn Birds are parents and grandparents now, watching new generations fall in love with Colleen's evocative word pictures and the clarity of her prose. Colleen has written her final word, but this is not the end of her story. She lives on in bookshelves and libraries around the world and in the hearts of all who loved her. Our heartfelt condolences to Colleen's family and friends. May she rest in peace.

The SPEAKER: As a mark of respect, I invite honourable members to rise in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—

The SPEAKER: I thank the House.