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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7816


Mrs MARKUS (Macquarie) (16:52): I open my contribution in this condolence motion by expressing my deep condolences to Julie, Tess and Elliott, to the rest of the family and also to the team who have served Don and the electorate of Canning. I want to say what an honour and a privilege it has been to have served the Australian parliament and the Australian people at the same point in time as Donald James Randall did. To have had the opportunity to share in this place the responsibility and, I suppose, sometimes the burden that that encompasses and involves has been, I think, a privilege.

Don was a man who was not afraid to take risks—firstly, to try and win Swan and then to have another go at Canning. When he stood and fought for his people, whether it be one-on-one talking to a minister or their staff or whether it be in the party room, he at times took risks. He said what he thought. He was no respecter of persons, but he valued everyone. He loved people. A word that we do not use often enough is that word 'love'.

We have talked today about him being a wine connoisseur, and I have to say that I am not one. But, if I was to go out to dinner or lunch with Don, I did have to learn what a good red wine was, because you did not turn up without a good red wine. So I did have to learn what he liked, at least.

As a colleague who had to battle to hold or win seats, he was indeed someone who knew what it was like to be up against it. On many occasions, whether it be over dinner or lunch or whether it be sitting in the chamber here during a division, the conversation would often go to what is important to the people of Australia. What are the people that we are representing saying? What is important to them? What do we need to do differently? What are our responsibilities? And I have to say that, with Don, he respected what those of us had to say who held seats that were tough to hold. If I talked to Don about something that I thought was important for us to listen to as a government or even as an opposition when we were developing policy, as somebody who held a tough seat I did not have to argue with Don; he listened. He valued what I and many others had to say. You always knew you were listened to. I suspect that that is exactly what he did for the people in his electorate. He said: 'I am here to listen to you talk to me.' I have to say that I experienced that firsthand.

On our side of politics, we value the uniqueness of the individual. We value of the rights of the individual, and Don expressed that. I had a look momentarily at what his names, Donald James, mean. I think the meanings of his names actually reflect who he was and what we will miss. I will miss my conversations with Don. I will miss having the opportunity to look for him in a division and find him and just to have a chat about what I think we need to do. If you look at the name 'Donald' it is Scottish in its heritage and means 'great chief', 'world mighty'. The name has often been borne by a number of early Scottish kings. I think it is very fitting for Don. Don, through his own efforts, positioned himself amongst leaders in this nation of Australia and also, as we have heard today, with leaders in Sri Lanka, Cuba and Japan—to name a few. 'James' has a little more contentious meaning, and I will take the risk that I think Don would have taken in talking about what it means. It means 'to grasp the heel' or 'a supplanter'. When you look at the meaning of supplanter, it often refers to governments and rulers of countries. It comes from the verb 'supplant', which evolved from the Latin 'supplantare'. Its meaning is to 'trip up' or 'overthrow'. With all due respect to my colleagues opposite, I think Don was quite delighted to be able to trip up and overthrow the other side as he held his seats and the fought battles for what he believed in and what was important to him.

He definitely believed in people—and that brings me to Julie, Tess and Elliott. Many a time at dinners when we were all talking about our families, he would talk of Julie, Tess and Elliott with very deep pride. He certainly, without doubt, believed in his wife and his children. He believed that Tess and Elliott would achieve the best that they possibly could. Tess and Elliott, if you get the opportunity to hear or read what I am talking about, as someone who lost a father at a young age I understand somewhat what you may be experiencing. There will be many days ahead when you will wish you could talk to him, when you will have those opportunities sometimes to celebrate and sometimes to experience challenge, and he will not be present with you.

Yet, at the same time, knowing that he loved and believed in you, I hope, will be a great source of comfort and strength to you over the coming years. Don, we bid you farewell for the moment. I will miss you.