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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7773


Mr KEENAN (StirlingMinister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism) (13:26): I rise to join the long list of condolences for our former colleague Don Randall. I knew of him long before his parliamentary career, because, before he was in parliament, he was a teacher and he taught at the primary school on the street where I grew up. I did not attend that school—I was Catholic and I went off to the local Catholic school—but all of my mates did. I used to hear of the legend of one of their teachers, who was universally only ever known as Randall. Randall had a different teaching style than some of the other teachers. He kept order by way of a squash ball that would come your way if you were not paying attention or if you were doing the wrong thing. If things got particularly out of hand, you could be removed from class. And you would be removed, yourself and your chair, sometimes via the door, in extreme cases, via the window. This is a style that endeared him very much to the kids who he taught. They remembered him very fondly and, since his passing, they have actually contacted me to remind me about the great teacher that he was, because he cared very deeply for his students and in return they had an enormous amount of affection for him.

He brought this rough-and-ready style, I think, to his parliamentary career as well. He was very genuine about representing his constituents in here and, as has been noted by many speakers before me, exceptionally dogged and relentless in pursuing their interests. He brought to this parliament, also, a very honed sense of what was politically important. I think he understood the sorts of issues that his constituents were concerned about. He represented them very effectively but also, politically, he really never missed a trick. He was exceptionally good at doorknocking, and the stories told at his funeral have been recounted by others, such as him doorknocking an elderly lady whose roses needed pruning. He pruned her roses that day, but he would return annually to prune her roses—somebody who he had doorknocked previously.

He was a hard fighter. He was a very hard-charging politician. He fought for the seats that he won in Swan and Canning in particular. Much has been made of his rivalry with the member for Perth. Their rivalry has been mentioned, too, about taking credit for who was responsible for the building of the highway to Bunbury. I remember seeing Chris Evans, who was the transport minister at the time, at an opening of a road in my electorate a couple of days after he had done the opening of the Forrest Highway, which was actually in the midst of the Canning campaign that was fought between Don and the member for Perth. He really had a form of trauma after having to be in photographs with Don and Alannah vying to take credit for this project that they both felt very strongly about.

At his funeral, other things about his character were made known that I am not sure that everyone would be aware of here: his love of gardening, his love of the violin, his beekeeping, his horseracing, his passionate support for the kids at Clontarf, and his passionate support for kids with autism. He brought these passions into the parliament, and he pursued them relentlessly to make sure that the causes that he had, the people that he represented, were very well heard. If he did not think you were doing the right thing by them, he would let you know. Quite frankly, he applied that rule from the Prime Minister down. If he was not happy with what was happening for his people, he would approach the person responsible and he would let them know that he was not happy. He would demand that we do better by them. That was why he was such an effective MP.

To Julie, who has lost a husband, and to Tess and Elliott, who have lost a father, I say: it is obviously terrible that he was taken and that he was taken far too early, but I do hope that you take comfort from the fact that as he moved through life, whether it be as a teacher or serving as an MP, he left his mark. He certainly left his mark on this place, and he was justifiably proud of that. I certainly hope that his family is as well.