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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7785


Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (14:19): Don Randall's interest in foreign affairs and Australian defence has been spoken of by many members, including my friend Senator Hutchins—who asked the member for Fowler to pass on his regrets to this House and to Don's family. That is how I first got to know Don Randall: on the $2 bus trip around the Big Island in Hawaii. And I can attest to the truth of everyone's remarks about his larrikin streak. We were both in Hawaii a day early for the important RIMPAC exercises that the Australian Navy engages in with the United States and other allied navies. In 40-degree heat Don insisted that we both catch the bus around the island, because it was only $2, subsidised by the Hawaiian state government, and going anywhere by taxi to any of the big beaches et cetera would have been a waste of money.

My respect for him and knowledge of him grew as the day went on. He was a numbers man in the Western Australian Liberal Party. He had very firm views about aspirants for the leadership of the Liberal Party, which he informed me about in great detail, particularly—since this was 2006—about the aspirations of the then member for Higgins, his lobbying and his views et cetera. I really started to admire him because I understood the importance of people, on both sides of politics, in working the numbers and being a good local member of parliament. In a wonderful speech the member for Brand, in his commemoration of Don, talked about the Halls Head booth and how Randall turned that electorate of Canning around from being very marginal to being quite a safe Liberal seat. After all, it was held for a long time by a Labor member of parliament, George Gear, and later by Jane Gerick who, unfortunately, also passed away in office. The fact that Don was able to take a seat like that and turn it into a bastion for his own political party is something to be greatly admired. I admired Don for that and I admired him for his insights into the internal machinations of the Liberal Party.

More recently I had the pleasure of working with Don on several committees. It was when he was chair of the House procedure committee that we last worked together. Under his direction and leadership during the 44th Parliament, this parliament, the committee produced its two significant reports on the future of parliamentary operations and the use of electronic devices in the chamber and the Federation Chamber and on the role of the Federation Chamber, celebrating 20 years of operation. Don was a keen supporter of the Federation Chamber as an alternative site for parliamentary debate and for the additional opportunities for advocacy it afforded to members of the House. I think he was particularly keen on it because it enabled private members to give their views and make their contributions in this parliament.

The member for Wentworth said Don was authentic, and my friend the member for Chifley said Don was softly spoken. You cannot do this job without a love of your community. This was clearly evident in all of the speeches made today. If you knew and talked to Don, that was his attitude. And he had a love of local service. The story about Don Randall going to a pensioner's house to clip their roses and then going back every year is authentic. That is Don Randall. I do not think many of us could work in politics unless we had that Randall attitude—that we love the local community and like doing what others would consider to be crazy things such as clipping a pensioner's rose bushes and going back each year to do it again and again and again. Don will be remembered for many things—the Clontarf Foundation, his support for autism and his wonderful work locally. I say to Mrs Randall and to his two children, Tess and Elliott, that anybody in here who knew Don knew that he gave the full measure of effort in all the areas we work in. At 62 he has gone too early. Farewell Don Randall.