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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7772


Mr HARTSUYKER (CowperDeputy Leader of the House and Assistant Minister for Employment) (13:21): While this House regularly pays its respects to distinguished Australians who have passed away, it is a particularly solemn day when we are here to speak of the passing of a serving member in this place. I was certainly shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of my friend and colleague Don Randall.

Don and I were both members of the class of 2001, although Don had the special privilege of also being a member of that very famous class of 1996. Don was one of those rare and talented individuals who manage to be elected to this place twice from two different electorates. When he was elected the second time, he was part of an elite group of some 25 MPs who had managed to be elected to represent an electorate other than the one that they had previously held.

When I first met Don Randall, he struck me as a genuine and honest bloke who cared deeply about his family and the Western Australians he represented. When we served on the Standing Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations together, I always admired his understanding of the challenges that young Australians—particularly those from regional and rural areas—had found in trying to find and keep a job. He would continue this advocacy over the years, and, whenever we bumped into each other in the corridors of this place, he would always raise the issue with me, in my capacity as assistant minister for employment, in his own frank and direct way, as has been recounted by many members today.

Don's sympathies about the issue of youth unemployment came from growing up in a farming family and from his years of experience as a teacher. Teaching is indeed a great profession, and I think a particularly great profession is caring for and teaching young students with disabilities. In his first speech, he highlighted the challenges that young people face in finding and keeping a job. He said:

I saw and continue to see many of my former students unemployed through no fault of their own …

He went on to say:

Recurring knock-backs and being trained for jobs which just don't exist are demoralising for anyone who has been unemployed, but significantly so for our young people who have never seen it any other way.

I think that shows a great understanding of the challenges that many young people face, and a great understanding of the importance of work, not only for the financial benefit that work can bring but also from those other benefits of self-esteem, of having a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Don was very aware of those. I will always remember Don as a passionate and effective advocate for Western Australians generally as well as the people that he represented.

Also, I would like to recount a moment that was alluded to earlier, and that was the arrival of 'cardboard Kevin'. Don carried 'cardboard Kevin' into the chamber, and I was actually at the dispatch box at the time. I must say that the clip of Don coming in and our discussion of 'cardboard Kevin' is still frequently viewed on YouTube. So there are still many hits on YouTube of Don coming into the chamber with 'cardboard Kevin'. Don and I recounted with some pleasure the fact that Deputy Speaker Anna Burke requested that we remove 'the offending object'. I think referring to then Prime Minister Rudd as an 'offending object' was the subject of some considerable mirth between Don and me at the time.

On a more serious note, it is certainly a great loss to this parliament that we no longer share the discussions and the banter with Don. He has certainly been a great advocate for the electorates that he has represented. It was a mark of the man himself when he wanted people to make a donation to the two particular causes that he cared about—the Autism Association of Western Australia and the Wanslea grandcarers group—in lieu of flowers at his funeral.

The parliament, the state of Western Australia and the people of the electorate of Canning have lost a great servant with a strong voice. I will miss you, Don. This parliament will miss you. I extend my profound sympathies to Julie, Tess and Elliott. Vale Don Randall.