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Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Page: 317

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance) (12:35): I endorse the remarks made by my great friend the member for Forrest about one of her predecessors, Peter Hertford Drummond, who was a Liberal member of the House of Representatives for the Western Australian division of Forrest between 1972 and 1987. As the member for Forrest pointed out, he was in fact born in the city of Wagga Wagga, now in the Riverina electorate. He was born in that fine place on 21 August 1931. As the member for Forrest also pointed out, Peter Drummond was a farmer before entering politics, and I was interested to hear the member for Forrest point out that, during his parliamentary career, Peter Drummond was very heavily involved in committees concerning conservation. Certainly farmers are the best environmentalists, make no mistake; I am sure the member for Forrest would agree.

Ms Marino interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: 'No question,' she says. Farmers are the best conservationists, and Peter Drummond continued that fine advocacy on behalf of farmers in the federal parliament. He was also heavily involved in and deeply moved by Aboriginal affairs. He would have picked that up in his early childhood, in the Riverina and certainly when he moved to the west. Aboriginal affairs are something that we should all be very involved with. On this day, when we have the Closing the Gap statements, it does strike a chord with all members of parliament how important Indigenous issues are.

Peter Drummond was also heavily involved in tourism, and, again, as we are regional members, tourism is very important to our areas. We have some of the best kept secrets in our areas, both in Forrest and in the Riverina. I know that the bright lights of Perth—and I can see the member for Perth here—are very beckoning and appealing for many overseas tourists, but Peter was, and Nola and others from regional areas are, always keen to demonstrate and exemplify the great tourism opportunities that their areas have.

On indulgence, I might talk about those members from Wagga Wagga, because there are not too many. I was talking to Wal Fife only the other day—another great Liberal Party member of this House, just like Nola. Wal Fife and I were talking about the fact that there were so few members of the lower house from Wagga Wagga. He said, 'We should have a little club, and you can be the president and I can be the secretary of this little club of the members who hail from Wagga Wagga!' Indeed, I got the Parliamentary Library to look it up, given the fact that Mr Drummond came from my great city, and I learnt that there have in fact been 5 members of the House of Representatives and five senators who have had Wagga Wagga as their birthplace. I might, on indulgence, just talk about them, for the sake of Hansard and for the interest of members.

The first was James Howard Catts, born in 1877, who was the member for Cook, New South Wales, from 1906 to 1922, for the ALP. We then had Arthur Gibson Manning, born in 1872, who was the member for Macquarie, New South Wales, from 1922 to 1928, from the Nationalist Party.

Wal Fife—Wallace Clyde Fife—was the member for Farrer, New South Wales, from 1975 to 1984, and then for Hume from 1984 to 1993, having already spent 18 years in the New South Wales parliament. What a fine parliamentary career. What a fine public life he gave to Wagga Wagga for 36 years. He was born in Wagga Wagga in 1929.

Then, of course, we had Peter Drummond, who we mourn today. He was the member for Forrest in WA from 1972 to 1987 and, as I say, a Liberal, and he was born in Wagga Wagga in 1931. I was born in Wagga Wagga in 1964.

Then we have the senators. Charles William Oakes, a senator for New South Wales from 1913 to 1914, who was a Liberal—albeit prior to the great party that Bob Menzies founded; it was the earlier edition of the Liberal Party—and was born in 1861. We had Charles Hardy, a senator for New South Wales from 1932 to 1938 for the Country Party; he was born in 1898. Thomas Louis Bull was a senator for New South Wales from 1965 to 1971 for the Country Party; he was born in 1905 and was the father of a great friend of mine, Rick Bull, who continued with that family's representation in the New South Wales Legislative Council.

George Conrad Hannan, Senator for Victoria from 1956 to 1965, and from 1970 to 1974—a Liberal and a National Liberal—born in Wagga Wagga in 1910. And finally Helen Lloyd Coonan, a senator for New South Wales from 1996 to 2011—a Liberal born in Wagga Wagga in 1947. I know the member for Forrest, Nola Marino, would know the former senator well, and would appreciate the service she gave to the upper house.

So very few members have been born in Wagga Wagga. We have had 1,133 members since 1901 and 559 senators since Federation, and only 10 of those were born in Wagga Wagga, so Peter Drummond was certainly part of a special group. And he was a special man—he bucked the trend which culminated in the election of the Whitlam government in 1972 by defeating the one-term ALP member for Forrest, Frank Kirwan—then he held that seat for the following 15 years. What a great political warrior. And what a great input and contribution he made, not just to public life in his own patch but also to the national Parliament.

Mr Drummond's parliamentary colleague during some of that time was the Country Party—and subsequently the National Country Party—member for Riverina from 1974 to 1977, retired Colonel John Sullivan of Narrandera. When hearing of Mr Drummond's death, Councillor Sullivan praised his colleague as an outstanding member for Forrest and as someone for whom he had the greatest respect. He described him as a fighter for his electorate and as an advocate for farmers and producers across the nation. This is in much the same vein as the current member for Forrest, I might add.

I read Mr Drummond's maiden speech to this place, and Councillor Sullivan's comments certainly ring true. Mr Drummond spoke about the exciting period the wool industry was entering into at the beginning of 1973, as well as the contributions the timber, softwood and tin-mining industries make to his electorate. He served this place with distinction, and I join his successor—my friend Nola Marino, the member for Forrest—in conveying my deepest sympathies and those of his home town of Wagga Wagga to Mr Drummond's family and his many friends.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 12:42 .