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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1784


Mr WATTS (Gellibrand) (16:11): Last weekend the Labor family in Melbourne's West got together to celebrate one of the Footscray branch's true believers, Ron Palmer. Ron has had an enormous impact on the Labor Party and his decades of service and volunteering in his community and for the party has made Footscray a better place to live.

Ron is a lifelong member of the Labor party and has been involved in the Labor movement for over 40 years. He was the campaign director in Gellibrand for former Labor members Hector McIvor, Ralph Willis and Nicola Roxon, and he authorised my initial communications.

Incredibly, Ron will celebrate his 90th birthday this year, having never lost an election—that is a tradition that I continue to uphold in this place and intend to do so for some time into the future. During that time Ron really has seen it all. He remembers watching a future Prime Minister Bill Shorten come up through the ranks of Young Labor in the area

Ron is synonymous with Footscray and the area. He was Footscray Citizen of the Year in 1992. He has received the Western Hospital Community Service Award, Maribyrnong Council Community Service Award, Footscray Rotary Club Community Award and the Salvation Army Service Award.

He is also a past president of the West Footscray Rotary Club, the Footscray Historical Society and the Footscray RSL. He is an Australian Centenary Medal winner and the Order of Australia recipient and has won many other prizes.

He served his country in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific during the Second World War. He is an exceptional man. I thank him for all he has done for the local Labor Party. My community in Footscray would not be the same without him, and I hope that he can give many more decades of service to the party in the future.