Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 25

Mr LATHAM (Leader of the Opposition) (2:04 PM) —On indulgence, the Australian Labor Party joins with the Acting Prime Minister in expressing our condolences and sympathy on the passing of Janine Haines. She was well liked and respected around this building and, of course, well remembered as leading the Australian Democrats when they were at their peak. She can take great credit for that achievement.

She saw them as much more than a Senate party—she saw the true legitimacy of Australian politics as resting in this place, the House of Representatives, and so at the 1990 election she decided to give up her place in the Senate to contest the seat of Kingston in this place. She won more than 26 per cent of the primary vote but failed to attract the preferences that were needed to take the seat. That was a real landmark in the development of the Democrats and an achievement in its own right. For that party, it had the spin-off benefit of lifting their profile. In fact, at that election, in the Senate they lifted their support to 12.6 per cent of the vote nationwide and so her party easily held the balance of power in the other place. So while she was unsuccessful in trying to be the first Democrat elected to the House of Representatives, she gave them their high-water mark in the Senate.

She was a very effective politician. She was the first woman to lead an Australian political party and in that role was an inspiration to a huge number of Australians. She was a strong and committed leader of her party and saw its role as much more than an upper house political organisation. In the 1990s, after that defeat, she continued to make an important contribution to the Australian community through her writing and her public speaking. In fact, she had just begun a new career as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, her home town, when she was struck by illness.

On behalf of the Labor Party—and I am sure it is shared right around the House—I pass on my condolences to Janine's partner, Ian, to her daughters and to her grandchildren. She was well respected in Parliament House and well respected indeed in Australian public life, and she will be greatly missed.