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Monday, 10 August 2015
Page: 7832


WYATT ROY (Longman) (18:04): I join with my colleagues in saying goodbye to our mate Don. When I think of Don I think of somebody who was completely fearless. He lived his life liberated from the fear that would hold so many of us back. He was completely resolute in the convictions he held. Don was never intimidated. He often accepted very significant personal political cost to defend the views he held in the face of very significant adversity.

In a building where, too often, people—sadly—make a political calculation about almost every word they utter to you, Don never suffered that character flaw. He was completely comfortable in his own skin. While his mouth would often get him into trouble and his tough persona was out there for everyone to see, that tough exterior would mask a heart that was so much bigger. As many of our colleagues have recounted, Don was one of the most generous people you could ever meet. He brought to this place—a place that is often stale and partisan and overtly political—a real sense of life and passion. A lesson that he passes onto all of us is that we should live every day as if it were our last, and no-one could say about Don that he did not enjoy life. He enjoyed every aspect of life: his work, his family and his mates.

Without going into those personal stories, I will miss the ability to walk into his office. When you wanted to put the day-to-day politics and hypocrisy that often infests this building aside, you could go into Don's office and have an honest chat about what you thought of the world and what you thought of politics and have no fear that it would go any further.

Ultimately, the best thing Don did was make us laugh. He could make us laugh in the absolute darkest of political times and bring that life and passion back to the discussion. I will miss Don for many reasons but, above all else, I will miss those discussions, just the two of us, in his office. If there is any justice in this world and in the next, when Don made his journey upstairs there would have been a very good glass of red and a very big cigar sitting there waiting for him. To Julie, Tess and Elliott: all of us in this place grieve with you. We share your pain and we share your sense of loss. If there is anything you need, you only have to call. Don, mate, you will be missed but you will never be forgotten. Rest in peace.