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Tuesday, 24 February 1981
Page: 3


Mr ANTHONY (Minister for Trade and Resources) —The death of Eric Robinson in January of this year, only days before his fifty-second birthday, was a great shock to all of us and is a stark reminder to us all of just how uncertain life is. Eric, a strong vigorous personality, without warning was taken from us. It was a demonstration of the toll that political life can take of those who work to serve this nation. It took from this Parliament a man with a distinguished record of service to the nation, to the State and to the region for which he worked so hard over many years.

Eric Robinson's service was not confined to politics. He was prominent also in business, the community and the sporting life of Queensland. However, it was in politics that he made the greatest impression on Australians. After his election to the seat of McPherson in 1972 he gained growing respect in this Parliament. In 1975 he was appointed Minister for the Capital Territory and the following year he became the Minister for Post and Telecommunications and Minister Assisting the Treasurer. In 1977 he was appointed Minister for Finance. The corner-stone of Eric Robinson's career was his life-long commitment to free enterprise, the protection of the rights of individuals and the fostering of personal initiative. Eric Robinson's close involvement with the Liberal Party in Queensland was an integral part of that commitment.

As honourable members will be well aware, politics can put men-even men with the same political philosophy-at odds on issues. Eric Robinson and I did not have the same point of view about our political parties in Queensland. But these differences, whilst they were real, were never personal. Eric and I had a good personal relationship, one that started well before he entered Parliament. We were members of the same Cabinets of coalition governments. We were part of a team and I had a great respect for his ability, his capacity and his integrity. I am sure that is felt by all the members of Cabinet who served with him. I believe that respect is shared also by members of my party.

As I have mentioned, I knew Eric Robinson and his wife, Narelle, on the Gold Coast prior to his election in 1972. They were a very popular couple and their home was always open to welcome visitors to the area. Eric was a prominent figure on the Gold Coast which, of course, borders my electorate of Richmond. When he became the honourable member for McPherson we shared the handling of many regional problems in what is probably the fastest growing area in Australia. One of our joint achievements was the development of the Coolangatta airport and the construction of a major new terminal, which is now nearing completion. I am pleased that this new terminal is to be named in Eric Robinson's honour. It is a memorial to his services to the people of his electorate and to all Australians, and to his career as a distinguished Minister in Liberal-National Country Party governments. I would like once again to take this opportunity to extend my sympathy and the sympathy of the members of my party to his wife, Narelle, and the members of his family.