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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7755

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Education and Training) (12:03): I rise to speak on this condolence motion and, in doing so, express my condolences to Tess, Julie and Elliott—the members of Don's immediate family—and also to his electorate staff, who are like family. I also acknowledge the remarks that the Manager of Opposition Business just made, because I think he is the first to recognise that this is a great loss to this side of the House. While the whole family of the parliament knew Don Randall well and he was one of 150, each member of this side of the House sees our side as a team, the same way as I am sure the Labor Party see their side as a team. To lose one of our team is a serious and significant emotional blow. As Leader of the House, I feel that each member of the team is very much a part of my team. As Leader of the House, I feel that I have lost a significant part of my team, my persona and my daily activities. It is a great loss to our side of the House and we feel very emotional. I feel the pain of all my colleagues as well as my own and the pain that the Prime Minister, the deputy leader and the Treasurer have all expressed.

The message from Don's death to us all is that you never know what is coming around the corner. When we got the news that Don Randall had died, it just reminded us all that you must live every day as though it is your last day and enjoy every single day, make every day a winning post, have as much fun as you can, of course, and try to do great things. Don did great things. Don was a wonderful character. Don did not come into this parliament to serve a few terms and pass out again having made some contribution but not necessarily a memorable one. Don was a memorable member of this chamber. He was sophisticated and unsophisticated. He was interested in the parish pump and he was interested in foreign affairs and other cultures, as the deputy leader mentioned in her contribution. He was a man of many parts. I do not want to repeat all of those parts, as other people have already spoken about them, and others will as well.

He was interested in being a good representative. I think the first job of all of us in the parliament is to be a good representative, to represent our electorates—in his case, Swan and Canning, and in mine, Sturt—and to represent our states. If you get the opportunity to serve on the executive as a cabinet minister or as a shadow minister, that is a bonus. The first foundation of being a great member of parliament is to be a good representative, and Don regarded that as the most important honour. Anyone who campaigned with Don, spent time with Don or fundraised with Don always had a good time but always knew that he was constantly arguing, pushing, lobbying and suggesting things that would help his electorates of Swan and Canning, Western Australia and Australia in general. He was good company. I became a good friend of Don's.

As nobody else has been game to mention it, I am prepared to mention the unmentionable. I was in the chamber the night that Don made a couple of remarks that did not go down as well as, I think, he had hoped they would at the time. I was, in fact, sitting in front of him where Bruce Scott, the member for Maranoa, sits. I was much younger then. I remember thinking, 'I don't think that will go down very well!'

But once it was out, it was hard to take it back, it must be said. This was the unsophisticated side of Don that I mentioned earlier. And then, about a couple of weeks later, the Liberal Party had its Federal Council in Brisbane. There was a very long escalator, and I was going down this very long escalator and I saw Don going up on the other side of this very long escalator. I remember thinking at the time, 'that is unusual, that Don has come to the Federal Council; I would not have thought he would have been allowed to come to the Federal Council'—because he was a bit controversial for a little while. When I got to the bottom of the escalator, I looked back up again and there, coming down the escalator, was Don Randall with Tony Nutt! I remember thinking, 'yes, I did not think that would last very long'. And we did not see Don for the Federal Council. But I think that Tess, Elliott and Julie enjoyed a lovely three days on the Gold Coast, if I remember rightly, on the Liberal Party's expense, and so something good came of it.

We will certainly miss Don Randall, as we would miss any of our colleagues who had ended in the way that Don has, while being a serving member of parliament. I will certainly lose a friend, as I know many of our colleagues will. He was a great colleague, a good friend, and a great representative. He is the epitome of what a good member of parliament should be. Vale Don Randall.

The SPEAKER: Before I call the member for Brand, could I also acknowledge Don's staff who are here—Chloe, Claire and Tegan—and Don's sisters, Delys Rogers and Nola Price, his sister-in-law, Robyn Brealey, and other family friends who are in the gallery today.