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
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Page: 1029

Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (22:14): I want to mourn the passing of my friend and a leading lawyer in Melbourne, Peter Redlich, AO, who sadly passed away on 3 January this year. Peter was 76 years old. Philip Chubb, in the Age, put it well when he said: 'Peter's influence spanned across many industry and fields. His dedication to Labor ideals and social justice will be fondly remembered and missed.' I am pleased that Lou Farinotti and the firm Holding Redlich, which Peter so ably led, is going to be having a special memorial. Of course, the funeral was very well attended, including by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who said of Peter: 'Redlich put his heart and soul into everything he is about, and he is very much committed to see Labor getting itself into a position where it could win government.'

Peter Redlich was crucial to helping the Victorian ALP form its new constitution following Whitlam's victory in 1972. He was a president of the Labor Party and a key figure in state and national politics. He is a person who was responsible for the Victorian Labor Party reviving itself and was one of the strong supporters of the essential act of federal intervention.

Peter Redlich was admitted to practice in 1959. In 1962 he became a partner in the firm Holding, Ryan and Redlich, which subsequently became Holding Redlich, of which he became the leading partner. He was crucial and active in the legal fallout from the blackest days in Victorian industrial history when, on October 15, 1970, a span of the West Gate Bridge collapsed and he was responsible for looking after many of the injured workers.

Peter's life is remarkable. His family's great migration story to Australia began with one of the most terrible things I have heard. At the funeral, Rabbi Aviva Kippen recounted that Peter's father, Julius, when getting visas in Austria, was tipped off while volunteering for the Jewish Aid Society in Vienna, following the confiscation of his family business under the Aryanisation laws following Anschluss, by none other than the notorious Adolph Eichmann that he should get out of Vienna. The Redlichs arrived in Australia. Of course, they are famous in Melbourne for the gourmet food shops that they established, particularly that famous butcher shop.

But I remember Peter Redlich as a great figure of Australian politics and business who strode state and national life. He had many important roles, including with the Victorian Arts Centre and the Mental Health Research Institute. He served on the boards of the Australian Industry Development Corporation. He was the chairman of the TAB, he was on the Telstra board and the board of Qantas, and he served on the council of Monash University. Quite deservedly Redlich, the renaissance man, was appointed to the Order of Australia for his service to business and the arts, in 1992.

I have particular gratitude to Peter. He sponsored and supported many people across diverse ideological views within the Labor Party in difficult times. He stood with me and my friend Mark Dreyfus at a particularly difficult time for me. I will always recount with gratitude his steadfastness and his penetrating intelligence which enabled him to understand difficult things that other people did not have the complete understanding of. But I think his crucial role, along with a number of other people, was seeing that Labor was electable prior to 1972. He saw the terrible effects of some bureaucrats in the Victorian Labor Party branch on Gough Whitlam. In that role, people like Peter Redlich enabled Labor to be elected in 1972 and to see that Gough Whitlam was not constantly sabotaged by the Victorian Labor Party branch.

Peter is remembered by his entire family, including his wife, Sally; his brother, Max; his sister-in-law, Eva; his first wife, Janette; his children, Nicole, Jackie, John, Cassie and Sam; and a recently added grandchild, Ari, who gave so much joy to his grandfather Peter. Peter Redlich is sadly missed by all in Victoria, in the arts community and in the Labor Party. (Time expired)