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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7767


Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (12:58): I commence my contribution to this motion by passing on my sincere condolences to Don's family, who have lost their husband and father; to his electorate staff, because in an electorate office you are all in there together, working as a team; and to the electors of Canning, who have obviously held Don very dear since his re-election in 2001. My sincere condolences to you all.

I will miss Don. I did not think I would ever say in this place that I would miss Don. When I first met Don, we were on, I think, the employment and industrial relations committee together, and I formed an instant dislike to him. But that changed. It changed over time, and I came to enjoy his company and to enjoy his wit and his quirky sense of humour that we have heard about today. I have gone from being in a position where I hoped I would never see him again to now being very, very sad that he is not here in this parliament.

I emailed his office when I heard of his passing, because I was really sad that I would not go along to the Procedure Committee again and see Don in the chair—and he was a great chair, if I could say. He listened to everybody; he encouraged everyone to participate and respected their opinions and tried to incorporate everyone's opinions into reports that were brought down by the Procedure Committee. I had not worked with him as a chair up until that time, and I was pleasantly surprised. He was a member of the Selection Committee in this parliament, and I might say that it is quite a different Selection Committee to the last parliament, but he contributed on that committee too.

After the 2007 election, Don's office was next to what is now the government party room and the then caucus room. We thought it might be nice for Don to move to a different office. Don would hear nothing of it—that was his office, that was where he was staying, and I think that really epitomises to a degree the type of person that Don was. He steadfastly stood by a decision he made and would not be swayed by any good argument or bad argument. Don was his own person, and I think we have heard that said many times here this morning. He was passionate and he would always speak his mind. He managed to build relationships across parliament and he was a person that I came to respect.

In establishing the Cuban parliamentary friendship group, he consulted widely. He consulted with the foreign minister. He really had a vision that we could build a relationship there. He knew that there were opportunities for us in this country to develop that relationship, and I know that the Cubans will be very sad at the passing of Don. I feel privileged to have known Don, I feel privileged to have worked with him, and my really, really heartfelt comment is: I will miss him, and my sincere condolences once again to his family.