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Thursday, 30 November 2017
Page: 9393

Senator POLLEY (Tasmania) (16:50): I, too, rise to make a contribution in relation to Hutcho—that's what he was known as. When I joined this place in 2005, during my first term I had, some might say, the misfortune at times to be seated next to Hutcho. It was inevitable that if you had a question—

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

Senator POLLEY: Yes, that's what he used to do—you could never put your question down on the desk because it would always disappear. You'd be in the middle of trying to make a very critical political point, and your jacket would be pulling you down. So there were those things, although some may say that it would be inappropriate today. He was a man who was genuine. He was respectful.

I have to say that, when I came to this place, I was very fortunate to come at a time when we were in opposition, to learn the way of the Senate and to be surrounded by people who cared about each other and were there to support you no matter what. If I were to come to this place now, the sad reality is I don't think we are as collegiate as we were then. And, yes, there were the times when we went out for dinner and ended up at the Holy Grail. I used to remark to my colleagues, 'I don't know how Hutcho does it.' He would turn up the next morning, he'd be ready to give you the advice for the day and he would perform his duties as a senator.

But this was a man who thought about others, not just himself. He was a man who believed in the Labor Party and he was a man who believed in the union movement, and that never waned. Even though he was relegated on the Senate ticket, he was still the man who was driven to come here and driven to give other people a better life. I think we're all going to experience the loss. I still find it very hard to believe that he is not going to be on the end of a text message and he's not going to be calling me H, because that's what he used to call me. It was never Helen; it was always H. He was somebody who, I think, contributed a great deal to this place and to the country.

My heart goes out to his family, all of his children, Natalie and his grandchildren. There is one thing you could always say: he was a man of the people, he was a man of the worker, but he was the proudest dad. He loved his children and he was forever talking about them. So, on behalf of myself, the reason that I'm still here is probably, to some extent, Stephen—Steve 'Hutcho' Hutchins—who was there to support me through the good times and the bad times. I'm very grateful for the fact that we had a lot more good times than we ever had bad times. Vale Steve Hutchins.