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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21831


Mr EDWARDS (9:22 PM) —The death of Ted Cunningham—a longstanding ALP member who was presented with his life membership by the Premier, Geoff Gallop, just a few days ago—is a time of sadness. Ted was elected to the seat of Balga in 1988. He was elected at a by-election following the resignation of Brian Burke. Ted had a reputation as a hard working parish pump member and he built a strong following of supporters—supporters who were kind enough, for instance, to support his annual St Patrick's Day dinner, always at a Chinese restaurant, always with the proverbial raffle. Indeed, I think Ted could have claimed to be the original king of chook raffles. The seat changed to Marangaroo and then became Girrawheen.

I went to see Ted in hospital on Saturday, along with the former Premier, Brian Burke. Ted was asleep for much of the time of our visit. When he woke briefly and recognised Brian his eyes lit up and we enjoyed a brief time of old and warm friendships. Ted is survived by his wife, Julie, who has been his constant companion during his illness.

Ted and I shared common boundaries within our respective state and federal electorates. Indeed, Ted gave me considerable support when I stood for Cowan and, no doubt, my victory was in part due to the standing he had in the community and the networks he had built during his time as member. Ted's very close friend, Batong Pham, was by his side when he passed away. Batong was one of the many whom Ted had helped during his time as a member and that relationship developed into a strong and enduring friendship. As the chair of the Western Australian federal parliamentary Labor Party I extend on behalf of all federal members and senators our deepest sympathy to Julie. Our thoughts go out to her during this difficult and sad time.