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Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Page: 6085

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:36): I am honoured to join the Leader of the Government in the Senate in speaking to this motion of condolence for the late David Francis Jull, or 'Jully', as he was known to all of us. I am particularly grateful to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Abetz, for allowing me to be the principal speaker on this motion. I also want to acknowledge our deputy leader, Senator Brandis, a fellow Queenslander, who has kindly allowed me to second the motion.

I want to extend to David's family and friends—particularly his sister, Gwen; brother, Peter; sons, Michael and Jay; and nephews, Stephen and Andrew—the condol­ences of all senators and in particular the condolences of some Queensland senators who worked with David in various forms over the years: Senator Brandis, Senator Mason, Senator Boyce, Senator Boswell and Senator Joyce.

With some of my remarks, I know that other former parliamentary colleagues and friends would want to be associated. I particularly mention two of David's best mates, former Senate leader Robert Hill and Mr Christopher Pyne MP, both of whom lived with David in their Canberra establish­ment for all of the time that David and his colleagues were in Canberra together. I know that former senators MacGibbon, Herron and Parer and previous Queensland MPs who worked with David—John Moore, Don Cameron, Kathy Sullivan, Kay Elson and Peter Lindsay, to name a few—would also want to be associated with some of my remarks. I know that his long-term and very loyal staffer and friend Anne Quinlan will be devastated by David's passing.

All those who worked with David were influenced by his commitment, energy and humour and by his passionate beliefs in liberalism and the Liberal Party. David was, as Senator Evans has mentioned, elected as the member for the Brisbane bayside elector­ate of Bowman at the 1975, 1977 and 1980 elections but was defeated in 1983. He returned to federal parliament as the first member for Fadden in 1984 and was elected handsomely at every subsequent election until his retirement in 2007. In David's final speech to the House of Representatives on 19 September 2007 he quoted the 129th psalm:

Many a time have they fought against me. Yea, many a time they have fought against me from my youth up, but they have not prevailed against me.

As he said then, he was particularly pleased that he left this place in his own time. They, as he said, did not get him. I was never quite sure who he meant by 'they'. David was a real liberal and, as one of his long-term friends Tom Harley said of him he was 'a figure of constancy with his liberal values'. He was a genuine small 'l' liberal and his whole life and his work in parliament reflected that.

Not that the Liberal Party ever has any factions, but David could always be relied upon when his vote or influence was needed in preselections or elections to the executive. He did involve himself very closely with party units in his own electorate and when necessary to help his friends in the wider Queensland scene. He was very much involved in what were the awful eighties for the Liberal Party, with leadership challenges from Peacock to Howard to Peacock and then to Hewson then Downer then Howard again. Jully was certainly a player in many of those events.

Jully was passionate about the tourism industry and in fact had worked in that industry prior to his second entry into parliament. He was a great advocate for tourism, particularly in Queensland, and contributed in many ways to its success in its halcyon days. He was also one of the most knowledgeable people in relation to aviation matters and took that to extremes by knowing the history of every single aircraft flown domestically by both Qantas and Ansett. He was able, without hesitation, to advise important details like when and where an aircraft was manufactured, where it had flown, how many problems it had had that needed to be rectified and which aircraft had the most comfortable seats. He was not all that fussed with Ansett Airlines ,which he would always refer to as 'Criminal Air'. This followed a policy altercation he had with a very prominent former owner of Ansett—now deceased, I might say—who had threat­ened to have him killed because of certain policy arguments he had had about Ansett. He was not much more complimentary about Qantas, either, and I recall he had a name for that airline which was associated with the KGB and the Kremlin.

David will be remembered for many good works, for the help he gave to constituents and for the contribution he made to Austra­lia. However, as Senator Evans mentioned, there are many former colleagues from both sides of parliament who are eternally grateful to David for advice, itineraries, and even on occasions bookings at the right price, for any airline journey around the world. In fact, again without much thought, he could tell any prospective traveller the daily schedules for aircraft flying to anywhere in the world, and it was not too difficult to learn from David when the first plane left Stockholm bound for Kathmandu.

I think David was happiest in his parlia­mentary duties when he was the shadow minister for tourism and aviation, and he would often talk about how aviation and tourism was so inextricably intertwined. Perhaps his unhappiest moment in parlia­ment but one that he never mentioned, not even in his final speech, was the time of his departure from the ministry. Every parlia­mentarian aspires to ministerial office and, after many years as a shadow, David was appointed Minister for Administrative Services in the first Howard government. It was a large and complex portfolio dealing with the total operations of government. The 1996 Howard government had a debt of some $96 billion to pay off and so the focus of all ministers was cost cutting. This partic­ularly fell to the Minister for Administrative Services, who was required to find savings across a range of government operations. David did this very well.

There was a period in the early days of the Howard government when some ministers got into some trouble. There was a particu­larly prominent minister who was under media and other scrutiny. It was suggested to David Jull by a 'higher authority' that he should ensure that only the essential facts of the particular issue were released. It later transpired that more facts became public and in the subsequent hue and cry it was necess­ary for someone to fall on their sword. David did this although he was completely blame­less. The irony of it all was that David, through his days in the Queensland Liberal Party, was never a great fancier of the National Party and the fact that his departure from the ministry resulted from the indiscre­tions of a National Party minister with whom David had had only a professional rela­tionship was something that I think hurt David the most. But I repeat that he never expressed any bitterness about his treatment and never mentioned it in any parliamentary speech.

For the last decade of David's parlia­mentary career he was the very distinguished chair of the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, and he had this role during the time of 9/11 and the war on terror that followed. He can rightly claim some credit for the fact that Australia has never suffered from any onshore terrorism attacks since that time. Jully was a great raconteur, a joke teller extraordinaire and his humour and irony were legend. He was a big man, in all senses of the word, a nice bloke and a very loyal friend to have. I have many fond memories of my association with David, which curiously preceded our political involvement. His father, who was an Anglican minister, baptised me at St Mary's in Redcliffe when I was a baby. We often would mention that.

His deep voice and his presence suited him brilliantly for his earlier career as first of all a radio journalist and subsequently a front of camera TV journalist. He was assistant manager of Channel 10 in Brisbane. Even following his retirement from parliament, David helped out with a couple of com­munity radio stations in the Brisbane-Gold Coast area.

Among his many other good deeds and words, David Jull will always be remember­ed for his part in the formation of a serious policy group of likeminded individuals called the Black Hand Society. This far from exclusive society brings together some of the finest minds, the greatest wit and the best bons vivants from around the country once a year, usually on the eve of the annual Liberal Party Federal Council meet­ing. The only business transacted at these meetings in­vol­ves a number of penetrating, ever so slightly disrespectful but always enjoyable speeches. David was always a principal participant in these gatherings and very often the MC. The Black Hand Society will continue forever and every meeting will be a commemoration of the life, wit and loyalty of David Jull.

His one fault in my mind was that he refused to give up smoking until it was too late. As a result he suffered from lung cancer for which he had several operations. His fight with cancer resulted in the loss of one lung and part of the other lung but he never gave up. He was always cheerful through a very torrid treatment process and he never let his illness get him down. I am particu­larly grateful that recently a group of David's Queens­land parliamentary colleagues got together for a very long lunch at which David was at his sparkling best, as we lingered over one, or two or more bottles of a very good red. We left that lunch believing that David had again won his battle. Several weeks later a special meeting of the South Wing Group, another once a year gathering, this time of former Howard government ministers, was specially convened in Bris­bane to enjoy David's company and pres­ence. Unfortunately, at that meeting David was clearly not well but he did not let that interfere with his enjoyment of the gathering of his old ministerial colleagues, including John Howard, all of whom had made a special effort to be with David in what turned out to be his last meal with us all.

David was a man of faith, a great and loyal friend to all those who knew him well, and he will be sadly missed. May he rest in peace.

Question agreed to, honourable senators standing in their places.