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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4439

Mr HUNT (Flinders) (12:36): I want to acknowledge the words of the previous speaker, the member for Pearce, who was a great friend of Judith Adams's. In talking about Judith, let me begin with some personal reflections. I last spoke with Senator Adams only a couple of weeks before she passed away. I called on her mobile; frankly, I had not expected her to answer, but she did—she was in hospital at the time—and we had a lovely, long conversation, even though it was evidently difficult for her. It was difficult in two respects. Firstly, I think it was the sheer physical difficulty: the process of talking was hard. Secondly, of course, it was emotionally difficult. Judith knew what was coming, but she was stoic. There was frustration, I think, with the pain, but there was also a resilience from her life and her role as a mother, as a grandmother and as a senator.

In the course of that discussion, she talked about what was important to her. Most important was her sense of family and having seen her sons, Stuart and Robert, and her grandchildren, Taylor and Maelle, come into this world. Then we talked about her work. In particular, we talked about something of importance to her, which is the potential health effects of wind farms on local community members. Along with the member for Pearce, Judy Moylan, Judith Adams was a great advocate of proper research and commitment, and I was able to inform Judith that the Senate had just passed what was effectively her motion. There was a great sense of relief and vindication on her part that something in which she believed had been progressed, and I remember making the commitment that we would take this to a full, independent, national medical review. I reaffirm that commitment to all of those who knew her and worked with her on this issue: if we are in government, we will seek a full, independent inquiry and it will be done in her name, in remembrance of her. It was emblematic of two things: firstly, her diligence and commitment to local issues and, secondly, her concern about others—even as she was in the most dire of conditions, she was focused on the health impacts and the quality of life of people in small towns not just from within her own family area but from right across Western Australia and Australia. It was real, unfeigned and, frankly, unfakeable. To be in that circumstance and to have that focus was, to my mind, the ultimate measure of the person.

I do not want to repeat much of what has been said so eloquently by so many others. I simply want to offer that reflection of the person. In her grimmest circumstances, with, as she knew at the time, very little precious time left, she remained focused on her family and she remained focused on her task. It was a very powerful phone call which will stay with me for a long while. When we said goodbye we really said goodbye. I think we both knew that that was likely to be the last encounter. Judith, you did us all proud and you did your family proud. Thank you for what you did. Take care.