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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 54

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (4:10 PM) —It is a very sad day particularly for the Democrats but also for people like me who have sat opposite where Senator Murray is sitting now. I think at some stage I sat next to Janine Haines in the parliament for a number of years before she moved down to the front bench. I always found her to be a very delightful lady, a very good colleague and quite a friendly person. We used to have a few little jokes between us as we sat there before she moved to the leadership of the Democrats.

I remember when former senator Don Chipp resigned and Janine Haines took over the leadership role of the Democrats. This was the start of a long list of women leaders: former senators Janet Powell and Cheryl Kernot and Senator Meg Lees and Senator Stott Despoja—all were very capable leaders but Janine Haines had a special place, possibly because she was the first woman to lead a political party. She must have had a lot of courage because she was prepared to put her money where her mouth was and she took a huge risk to go into the lower house. She must have understood the risks but she saw the need to further lift and promote the Democrats so as to have a presence in the lower house. Unfortunately for the Democrats, they lost a good leader in the 1990 election. But, whilst she lost her own seat, she got a very high vote of about 26 per cent. In that election when she was running for the lower house she also got the Democrats into the highest position they had ever been in, which I think was around 12.6 per cent. I think there was quite a large class of Democrats after the 1990 election.

She had different views from us. I know we joined forces on the proposed Australia Card but we had basically different views. Nevertheless, that is what you expect in the Senate: to come in here and meet different people with varying views. She fought very hard for what she believed in and she made a large contribution on those views she had. She was successful in promoting a lot of her ideas and getting them into legislative form.

It is very sad when someone leaves us so early; it is also sad when you know them personally. It does not often happen here that you know the people who have passed away. On behalf of the National Party, my National Party Senate colleagues and my National Party colleagues in the House, I extend our condolences to the family of Janine Haines, to her two daughters and to her grandchildren. We wish them all the best at this very sad time.