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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3978

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:08): I rise on indulgence to acknowledge the passing of the Hon. Tom Lewis, former Premier and Treasurer of New South Wales, on 25 April. I want to place on record the House's appreciation of his service to the parliament and the people of New South Wales and tender our profound sympathy to his family. Tom Lewis served not only New South Wales, and eminently, but Australia. He was in the Australian Imperial Force during the Second World War, stationed in the Celebes, Java and Borneo. He worked at our embassy in Washington in the late 1940s and he entered the New South Wales parliament in 1957. Mr Lewis represented the people of the state electoral district of Wollondilly for more than 20 years. He was a minister in the Askin and Willis governments and was Premier between 1975 and 1976. When he was not at parliament, he was skiing, flying his own plane or farming at Castlereagh on the Nepean River, and later at Moss Vale. He was known by his staffers and colleagues to be impatient, wanting everything done yesterday, but he was also regarded as a good administrator and admired for his efficiency and ability to cut through red tape. He was a veritable bundle of enthusiasm and energy, as I discovered when I came to know him in my capacity as a very, very young reporter in the New South Wales press gallery of that era.

Tom Lewis, as Minister for Lands, founded the National Parks and Wildlife Service for New South Wales in 1967, and that is a great legacy for all of us who have marvelled at and enjoyed the beauty of the New South Wales national park system. A generation of Australians can also be grateful that, in order to promote the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Tom Lewis gave permission to film the iconic Australian television series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo at what became known as Waratah Park.

In recognition of his services to the environment, the community and the parliament, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia. We recognise his service again today. On behalf of honourable members and the government, I offer our deepest condolences to Mr Lewis's wife, Yutta, to his children, Mark and Jon, to his stepchildren, Phillip and Michelle, and to his grandchildren, Tom, Amelia, April, Holly, Lucy, Molly and Annie.