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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7843

Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (19:02): I also would like to pass on my condolences and lament with Julie, the wife of Don, and Tess and Elliott. It is quite bizarre that I was actually sitting down with Don and Tess last sitting at the Italian ambassador's residence; I was sitting beside Don. Don was always so very entertaining and, like many colleagues on this side—I would also like to thank those for their comments very much on the other side—I could not believe it when I actually looked on the online media to see the passing of Don Randall. In actual fact I was very upset, like all members would be.

I got to know Don in particular when we sat beside each other in the opposition as shadow parliamentary secretaries. The role I took up was always to advise Don: 'Don't do that. I wouldn't do that; I wouldn't say that.' He used to always run in interjection, 'I'm thinking about saying this,' and I would say, 'Don, I don't think you should do that.' Even with the cardboard cut-out of Kevin Rudd, he said, 'I'm going to do this,' and I said, 'Don, I don't know about that.' He said, 'Oh, I'm just going to do it; would you just bear with us—I am going to do it.' And he would do it. Don would never be the person who would let anything go by without putting his hand up and putting himself first.

One thing in this place—there are not many people like Don, and what he would try to do is engage everyone. Don would always invite you out for dinner and always crack it when you would not come out to dinner with him. To the member for Bonner, my friend Ross Vasta—congratulations, Ross, for putting your hand up for Speaker today—Don would be looking down in this place on you and thinking 'job well done'.

I love that motto, 'You talk and I'll listen,' because, as Prime Minister said, in the party room it was 'everyone listen to Don'. Don would always say what he believed and what he felt. I always used to say he would be a great detective, and he used to say, 'Why is that?' I would say, 'Don, because you've got your heart in the right place, you never give up and you look after other people.' That is why he was a fantastic local member for Canning and did such an amazing job.

He would always be talking about Sri Lanka and Cuba, and I remember recently—it was actually earlier this year—walking past a committee room and Don grabbed me and said, 'Come and meet the Cuban ambassador.' I said, 'Oh, I am in a bit of a hurry.' He goes, 'Haven't you got a heap of Cubans in your electorate?' I said, 'I don't think I've got any.' He said, 'Oh, okay. Well, we're giving out free alcohol.' I said, 'Don, I'm not drinking at the moment.' And Don goes, 'Woody, just come in here!' So we came in and met the Cuban ambassador. But that is the type of bloke he was—he would basically grab you when you were in a hurry and bring a bit of peace and stability, and have a chat and get you to meet people you normally would not meet. When I heard today he played the violin and tended the roses, I could not believe that. That, I suppose, is a sad thing about this place; quite often we do not hear about the talents and skills of our colleagues until it is in a situation like this.

To his family, I cannot imagine what you are going through, but Don's legacy will live on and on and on, because he was that sort of bloke. You just cannot forget everything he has done, and nor should we. So, like many members here today, I truly feel the great loss of Don Randall. Don, if you are looking down now, you are a great mate. You looked after everyone, you will be sadly missed, you have left too early and we will look after your family. Thanks so much.