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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4436

Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong) (12:22): I rise to pay my respects to Senator Judith Adams following her passing away on 31 March 2012. Indeed, it is my great honour to follow in the steps of my friend and colleague the member for Hasluck, Mr Ken Wyatt, whose honest, genuine, sincere and heartfelt condolences there gave us a sense of his close relationship with Senator Adams, and we are very grateful to her for enabling him to be in this place. I honestly think I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that his contribution in this place will be a continuation of her legacy.

Senator Judith Adams was a colleague and I may go as far as to say a friend. But I did not know her that well, having come from a different state and having joined the parliament only in 2010. She always struck me as hard-working, decent, modest and thoughtful and, when you hear some of the words of colleagues that have been spoken both in this place and by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the House as well as those in the Senate, one gets the sense of her giant contribution to Australian public life, and particularly her community in Western Australia, and of someone whose sometimes quiet demeanour covered up an incredibly detailed and eventful life.

In 1968 Senator Adams moved from New Zealand to WA where she met her husband, Gordon Adams, who was a pilot with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. In New Zealand Senator Adams had joined the New Zealand territorial army and gained a diploma in operating theatre nursing, and there she made a significant contribution to the New Zealand military. In fact, she continued the legacy of her grandfather, her mother and other family members of being service men and women. Her grandfather was in fact a New Zealand Anzac, who lost his life at Gallipoli. Her mother was a hospital ship nurse during World War II. Judith served in the Army both as a nurse and a midwife. But when she came to the parliament as a senator for Western Australia she rose to the rank of senior deputy whip in the Senate. She was an active member of Senate committees and she was a strong supporter of the ADF parliamentary exchange. She was also a strong advocate for women's health, particularly of those living in remote areas.

She bravely battled against cancer and, in fact, fought for the rebate for external breast prostheses, as well as support for patients with cancer to make particular travel arrangements. She was always an advocate for those who were battling against cancer. She knew firsthand what this struggle entailed.

My colleague in the Senate Senator Helen Kroger has spoken of Judith's care for her staff and her commitment to the Liberal cause. When she stood for the Senate, Senator Adams said:

I stood for the Senate knowing that I had the background, the experience and the will to represent Western Australia and to especially represent those people who live and work in rural and remote areas.

Looking back on the contribution of Senator Judith Adams one can see that she stayed true to those words, that she did make a significant contribution to the advancement of the lives of people living in rural and regional Australia, that she did advance the cause of women's health and that she did advance the cause of both the Liberal Party and the coalition.

Coming to parliament is a great privilege; it is a special place. Few people get that opportunity. It can also be a harsh place because people are motivated for different reasons to do different things—some noble, some not. But I think, universally, Judith Adams was seen as one of those good people who came here to make a real difference. She did not care for her own personal wellbeing as much she cared for the wellbeing of others. That was a hallmark of her career in parliament and it is also a hallmark of the legacy that Judith has left behind.

I join with all my colleagues on both sides of the House in paying tribute to Senator Judith Adams's considerable career, both prior to joining the parliament and since she began work in this place. I would also like to send my best wishes to her sons, Robert and Stuart; to her daughters-in-law, Anne and Tammy; and to her grandchildren, Taylor and Maelle. They have the affection, the good wishes and the condolences of everyone in this place. Judith Adams, may you rest in peace.