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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7845

Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (19:11): It is my sad pleasure to stand and speak of my friend and colleague Don Randall. I often reflected in my first years in this place that one of the great collateral benefits of this choice of career was that all of a sudden you were surrounded by a whole group of new friends from both sides. One of the first people who, as so many of my colleagues have said, extended that hand of friendship was Don. I remember being invited into his office, and on walking into his office I saw the most beautiful set of golf clubs, which were immaculately cleaned. We started talking, as golfers do, about theories on how to play. The one thing in common that he and I had with Tiger Woods was that we all have our very bad days on the golf course. He took great pleasure in telling me about this method that he had to get onto the course at Royal Canberra Golf Club. We went and played at Royal Canberra, and we played a very similar game of golf. As that game does to you: you have your good days, your bad days, your good holes and your bad holes. The one thing we had in common was that, unlike some golfers who get very upset when they play badly, it did not impact on our conversation, our enjoyment of the game or of each other's company. Nor did it impact on our ability to address our thirst, which had been created by this beautiful game of golf that we had enjoyed, and I believe we had a glass of red wine—maybe we had two.

Don loved a yarn. He loved the camaraderie of his many friends here. But he had a serious side. He was a very genuine Australian, a man who befriended us with his ability to be irreverent, which is a great Australian characteristic, but there was a serious side. He had a great love affair for Sri Lanka, and we shared that through my family. My partner's father had been the high commissioner of Sri Lanka, and he had said late in life that the happiest days of his life had been lived in Sri Lanka. While I intended to go to Sri Lanka with Don, that was never the case; but when I eventually get there, I will be traveling with you, Don.

It is a hard day for us all to acknowledge the passing of this great man, this great friend, and we have all lamented his passing, but with the presence today of his beautiful family, his lovely children Tess and Elliott and his lovely wife, Julie. Our loss is meagre compared to theirs. So our thoughts and our prayers go with you into the future. You will always have through extension, through that great man, Don, friends here.