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Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Page: 11

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:50): I join with the Prime Minister to pay my respects and the respects of the coalition to someone who was taken away from us far too soon. The phrase 'respected journalist' is normally a bit of an oxymoron, but Peter Veness was not only a respected journalist; he was also a loved journalist. He was certainly very good at his job, as anyone who was grilled by him at the front doors of this building would know. But there was no edge to it and there was no malice to it, as the tributes that have poured in since his passing show.

I particularly liked the tribute that came from the Director-General of ASIO, David Irvine, who noted Pete's meticulous attention to detail. I have often wondered about the clunk on the phone that sometimes happens, and it is good that ASIO are still listening in to the conversations that journalists have. Death is the ultimate mystery, but Peter Veness wrote about it with insight, pathos and humour. We miss him. We mourn him. We particularly grieve with his widow, Bec, and we acknowledge that, more than just about anyone else who has been in this place recently, he filled the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run.

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

Honourable members having stood in their places—