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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21831

Mr STEPHEN SMITH (9:20 PM) —Tonight I pay tribute to the late Ted Cunningham, a former member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia. Edward Joseph Cunningham—or Ted, as he was known universally to all in the Australian Labor Party—passed away in Perth yesterday after a relatively short but serious illness. Our sympathies go to his wife, Julie.

Ted was the Labor member for Balga from March 1988 and, through boundary and name changes, was for almost 13 years variously the Labor member for Balga, Marangaroo and Girrawheen until his retirement in February 2001. Ted was very well regarded in his community as a good local member of parliament.

I first met Ted in the late 1970s, but it was during the mid-1980s that my close professional and personal dealings with Ted began, first as State Secretary of the Western Australian branch of the ALP and then as the member for Perth.

Ted had almost 50 years of aggregate membership of the ALP, firstly in Queensland and then in New South Wales and Western Australia, where he arrived in the late 1960s or early 1970s. That he was both universally liked and respected in the Western Australian branch of the party was reflected by his elected membership of the party's Administrative Committee, as a state executive and state conference delegate of long standing and culminating in his recent award of life membership of the Western Australian branch of the ALP. He was both chairman of the state parliamentary Labor Party and Labor's Legislative Assembly whip during his time in the state parliament.

Ted was very Labor, he was very loyal, he was a very early Labor devotee of Chinese restaurants as a place for camaraderie and fundraising, and he was a great editor of legendary local newspapers and newsletters. In very many respects I believe his most enduring attribute was always bringing on young people, both as party activists and as potential parliamentary members.

The Western Australian branch of the Labor Party lost a lot of history yesterday. We lost a good colleague and a good friend and for many of us things will not be quite the same again. I extend my condolences and best wishes to Julie.