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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21832

Mr BEAZLEY (9:24 PM) —It is with great sorrow that I join my two colleagues from Western Australia, and I am sure the three of us speak for the entirety of the Western Australian federal delegation as we farewell a dear friend, a great Labor Party worker, a very good member of parliament indeed, and the devoted husband of Julie. It is particularly to Julie that I want to extend my sympathies tonight. She will miss Ted enormously, as we all will.

It will be one of the profound regrets of my life that, unlike the honourable member who has just spoken, I was not able to see him in his last few days. I had heard, after the presentation by the Premier of Ted's well-deserved life membership of the Labor Party, that he still had some time left, but that information was wrong. I regret very much not being able to share a final few moments with a man who has been a close friend of mine since the late 1960s when he first arrived in Western Australia and immediately joined the Labor Party.

We were up to all sorts of shenanigans in those days—all entirely legal. I can recollect Ted being one of the founding organisers of an outfit called the John Curtin Labor Club. It was a marvellous opportunity for dining, a marvellous opportunity to listen to good speakers, and a wonderful opportunity to make mischief—those were all the sorts of opportunities that Ted enjoyed enormously in his life. I do not think Ted in those days would ever have anticipated being a member of parliament, because Ted was a very humble man. Those sorts of jobs went to other people. His role in life, as mentioned by previous speakers, was to bring young people on in the political system and to give every encouragement to those he thought might succeed and make a serious contribution to public life through the Labor Party. But, in fact, loyalty was its own reward and he secured endorsement ultimately for parliament and pursued a very credible career in the legislative assembly. Not many people rise to be Chief Whip; not many people rise to chair their parliamentary Labor Party—he did both.

In addition to the service at the centre there was service at the local level. He was an extraordinarily active local member. The member for Perth mentioned a couple of the publications in which he was involved. I remember the Marangaroo Leader, which changed the first element of its title through his political career but not the second. I once asked him if there was a priest or a pastor or a rector who had failed to gain entry into the Marangaroo Leader and he said `No'—he covered them all.

Apart from being a devoted member of the Labor Party, he was a devoted Christian and a very strong Catholic. Therefore we can be assured that his faith sustained him in his last moments, but he was sustained as well by his good friends, many of whom, unlike me, did make it to his bedside. He was sustained too in the knowledge that he lived a good life and a life of great achievement in my home state of Western Australia. Along with my colleagues I extend my sympathy to Julie and to the community of which he became part. Through Julie he became a very intense participant in the Filipino community and in the broader Asian community in his various constituencies. He was a good-hearted soul and we are going to miss him terribly.

Question agreed to.