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Monday, 11 August 2003
Page: 12979

Senator HILL (Leader of the Government in the Senate) (3:32 PM) —by leave—I move:

That the Senate records its deep regret at the death, on 7 August 2003, of the Honourable Charles Keith Jones, AO, former federal minister and member for Newcastle, and places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.

Charles Keith Jones was born on 12 September 1917 at Newcastle, New South Wales. He was educated at Cooks Hill High School and Newcastle Technical College. He married Doreen Wright in 1939. A boilermaker by trade, Charles was an apprentice at the BHP Steelworks before taking up employment at Stewarts and Lloyds. He became a member of the Boilermakers Union and was involved with the Metal Trades Federation and Trades Hall Council. Charles joined the ALP in 1941 and was a committed Labor man throughout his life, always remaining active in party affairs.

He joined the State Dockyards as a boilermaker in 1943, where he remained for 13 years. Mr Jones was elected to the Newcastle City Council in 1946 and rose to be Lord Mayor of Newcastle from 1956 to 1957. He was 39 years old—at that time, the youngest person to hold the office. He was an inaugural councillor of the Shortland County Council from 1957 until being elected to federal parliament. In 1958 Mr Jones was elected to the House of Representatives seat of Newcastle, holding the seat until his retirement prior to the general elections in 1983. He was Minister for Transport from 1972 to 1975 and Minister for Civil Aviation from 1972 to 1973, and he held several party positions whilst in opposition.

Mr Jones represented the old-style trade union trained politician and did his job well. His colourful use of language is well known—in 1966, he called Harold Holt a `dirty old mug' and in 1976 he earned a suspension from the House for 24 hours after he called the then Treasurer, Mr Lynch, a `dingo'. He served on several parliamentary committees, including those on printing, road safety, aircraft noise and tourism. He was the Deputy Chairman of Committees from 1964 to 1967 and 1980 to 1983. He also attended several overseas parliamentary delegations and conferences and travelled overseas on official visits.

Mr Jones was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 1984 Australia Day honours list, for service to politics and government. He was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and, more recently, with the Centenary Medal for service to the community. On behalf of the government, I extend to his wife, Doreen, to his children and to other family members and friends our most sincere sympathy in their bereavement.