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Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Page: 101


Senator HEFFERNAN (7:29 PM) —It is a very great pleasure for me to stand up and say a fond cheerio to John Tierney and Pam. John, it must seem like a long way from Wagga Teachers College to here, mate. He has a connection with the bush. He was at Wagga Teachers College.

John and I have spent a fair bit of time together in the Liberal Party. He was on the executive with me in the days when Ted Pickering used to get you blokes all organised—he never got me too organised. We then went to our first preselection together, which Marise would remember. There were 28 candidates—God bless them—and two days of speeches. After the first day—and John reminded me of this today, and I am pleased we are all here in the chamber now—I led the primary vote with 29, John had 28 and Marise had 27. The next day was the day that I learnt how to count. Thank you very much, John, for teaching me how to count politically. I got done over properly when it all collapsed into a primary vote. My sincere congratulations to John on that. It was a very wise decision of the Liberal Party in New South to send John Tierney to the Senate because he complemented the place with his grip, intellectual drive and academic background. John, I congratulate you with great sincerity.

I remind the Senate of two things about that preselection. The first is that you actually had the support of Bronwyn Bishop and her people. The second is that I gave John a bit of a fright in Macquarie Street one day. We were standing on the kerb in Macquarie Street waiting for a bus to go past and I grabbed John by the back of the coat; I had a fairly good grip on him. He thought he was going under the bus, which was one way for me to even the job out. I did give you a bit of a fright at the time.

John has represented Newcastle and the Hunter in a very special way. It has been at times difficult political territory. Since the last preselection John Tierney has been an impeccable template of party loyalty. Despite the disappointment of defeat in that preselection, and on behalf of the New South Wales division, I sincerely congratulate you. Not only the parliamentary party but the organisational party fondly thank you for your loyalty. It is a template other people should follow.

John, you and I were a pretty complementary team on our ticket because you were academic and intellectually driven: you would read the books and I would look at the pictures. John, through all of that, has found time—with the assistance of Pam—to raise a family of six children. To do all of the things that you and Pam have done and raise a family is just an almighty effort. My sincere congratulations. I hear that we will be seeing lots of you around the place, and we look forward to that.