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Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Page: 33

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (17:47): I second the motion and I rise to support the Prime Minister's words and the Deputy Prime Minister's words of condolence for the late David Thomson. I understand that David Thomson served his nation with distinction, within the parliament and beyond. He was Victorian born, he graduated from Duntroon during the Second World War, and he served for 30 years with the Australian Army, serving at Balikpapan, New Guinea, Borneo and then in the occupation of Japan immediately after the war. He again saw active service in Korea where he was awarded the Military Cross in 1951 in recognition of his skills and gallantry. If he did nothing else in life, that award in itself and the activity to earn it speak volumes of the man.

Towards the end of his military service he was posted to Far North Queensland. After operating in a tourism business in the region, he went on to serve as a member of parliament, representing the electorate of Leichhardt. I understand David was a passionate advocate for Far North Queensland and its constituents, from farmers to tourism operators and also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. That advocacy and dedication was recognised by his electorate, securing him three election victories in a marginal seat.

David was a minister in the Fraser government. His first ministerial appointment was as Minister for Science and the Environment. He later served again as Minister for Science and Technology. In those roles he campaigned for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef and increased investment in science, research and development. Indeed, in his later years he remained engaged in public service, working with Legacy and Landcare in his adopted home of Batemans Bay. David Thomson's exemplary contribution to Australia as a soldier, a business operator, a science minister and an engaged citizen is recognised by all of us on this side of the chamber. On behalf of the opposition, I extend our condolences to the Thomson family, including David's widow Judy and their three sons.