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Thursday, 30 November 2017
Page: 9398

Senator WILLIAMS (New South WalesNationals Whip in the Senate) (17:13): I'd like to say a few words with respect to Steve Hutchins, former senator. How could you sum up Hutcho? He was just a fair dinkum good bloke. I enjoyed working with him and was saddened when I was talking to Piers Akerman last Thursday, who told me that Steve was very ill. On Friday morning, I got a text from former Labor senator Ursula Stephens, another fine person I've had the privilege to meet in this place. You remember the funny things. About where you're sitting over there, Senator Sterle, Julian McGauran was making a speech one day and, of course, Senator McGauran took every interjection going. Senator Hutchins was over here and made some interjection and Senator McGauran said, 'If Senator Hutchinson would be quiet over there.' Hutcho said, 'The name's Hutchins.' McGauran replied, 'If you ever came in here and made a speech, we might get to know your name,' to which Hutcho really returned fire at Senator McGauran. I had to laugh, but it was all in good humour.

I stayed in touch with Hutcho often after he'd left this place. When we had the kerfuffle of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal last year, the first thing I did, Sterlo, was ring Hutcho and say: 'Mate, we've got a problem. Small business are going to suffer.' He said, 'I'll do what I can,' and, typically, he did what he could do. He was just an enjoyable fella. I loved working with him. He'll be sadly missed by many. To Natalie and his family, I offer my sincere condolences. Hutcho, you suffered a long illness. We will remember you and we thank you for your great contribution to this country.