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Thursday, 24 June 2021
Page: 104


Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (11:44): on indulgence—It's with great pride and much sadness that I stand to speak on the condolence motion for Duncan Pegg. I know that the last fortnight has been hard for many people on the south side. The member for Oxley would agree with that, because early in the morning on Thursday 10 June a real fighter, Duncan Pegg, lost his last fight. Sadly, a great community champion lost his battle with cancer.

Duncan was a fierce representative for his community since his election as the member for Stretton. About half of his electorate is in Moreton and half in Rankin. I thank the member for Rankin for his fine words last week. Electorally, Jim and I shared Duncan, but, in a way, most of the south side shared Duncan Pegg, because his efforts were all about keeping our multicultural community together.

Duncan was a colleague and also a friend. A tireless campaigner, Duncan increased his margin by five percentage points at the last election, something that I only dream about in terms of a political achievement. Maybe if the suburb of Inala or something like that came into my electorate, that might happen. It was an incredible effort from Duncan. Duncan's community is also my community, and I know how much they love him.

I had the pleasure of working alongside Duncan for the last decade. We jointly hosted many mobile offices and street stalls. In fact, it personally cost me about $7,000 when I sent out letters when Duncan was a candidate, but I do still believe that that was money was well spent. Duncan and I attended many, many meetings with grassroots community groups to try to help the volunteers with all that essential but unpaid and largely unrecognised work that they do, the glue that keeps this thing called Australia together.

Duncan was an energetic supporter of so many groups in his community, particularly sporting groups, but so many community groups. In a multicultural electorate like Stretton, which has the highest proportion of people born overseas in Queensland, community events take on a particular importance. They are symbolic and actual about bringing people together. I'm always honoured to attend these events, and I know Duncan was as well. We attended many local celebrations together, and I saw firsthand the love and respect that Duncan's community has for him.

Just over a month ago, I got to attend a community farewell for Duncan at the Sunnybank Performing Arts and Cultural Centre after he announced to parliament that he would be resigning. I am so glad that Duncan got to experience that night. The Premier and many other people were there. The love and respect for Duncan from community leaders and politicians at that event was overwhelming—a living eulogy, if you like, that Duncan got to hear with his own ears.

I'd also like to include in this speech the words of some local community leaders. One is a very good friend of mine, Lewis Lee OAM, who emceed that event and about a million other events. He said, 'My heart shattered into pieces when Duncan mentioned to the audience at the community farewell at SunPAC on 30 April 2021 that I had almost emceed every event he held over the years and this would be the last one.' To quote Janeth Deen, a great community leader from the Muslim community, 'The Muslim community will remember Duncan as a true champion who worked tirelessly for his electorate.' Ali Kadri, who's captain of my cricket team when we take on Rankin—I should mention that cricket match, because Duncan Pegg used to be the umpire for that cricket match between Moreton and Rankin—said: 'Most people live a lifetime without impacting anyone except themselves and those closely around them. Then there are those few whose actions shape the lives of many in a city, town, and country. Many of the latter spend a lot of time and energy to make a little impact beyond themselves, but Duncan Pegg was not one of those. In the little time he spent on earth, and even the little as a representative, he has left a legacy which will continue to impact those he represented and beyond. If anyone ever asked me to give an example of a life well lived, my friend Duncan Pegg's name would be right on the top of that list.' Well said, Ali Kadri.

I meet a lot of people in this job, Deputy Speaker Vamvakinou, as you know. I know many politicians, and I will say that we are a weird lot. This isn't the sort of building that suffers from a shortage of self-belief. That's fair enough; in the contest of ideas you need strong people with strong characters. I've been around this parliament for about 14 years, and I still love fighting for my community and a better Australia. To devote your life to such a noble cause is a wonderful thing. I proudly put on the record right here that Duncan Pegg was one of the best politicians I've ever met. He achieved in his too short life much more than most people ever achieve in a life of lying low. He stepped up when most stepped back.

I know that family was very important to Duncan. He was one of five boys in the Pegg family. Duncan studied law and was a solicitor before entering politics. He represented people who'd been injured at work. Not surprisingly, Duncan showed the same commitment to his clients that he did later to his community of Stretton. Duncan never forgot that experience, and when he had the opportunity as a member of parliament Duncan helped reverse reforms to the workers compensation system which were made under the Newman government. The Newman reforms meant that someone injured at work through no fault of their own could be lawfully terminated for being unfit to do their job. They had no right to any lump-sum form of compensation. That was incredibly unfair. Duncan was on the committee that reversed those reforms. I know he was very proud of that practical change in legislation.

Duncan said in his first speech in parliament that he was drawn to politics to provide a voice against the rise of Hansonism. He said:

Queenslanders are fundamentally decent, tolerant people. They deserved better from their politicians.

Duncan, I will continue that fight for you; I give you my word on that. Duncan lived the promises he made in his first speech. He was always a fierce voice against Hansonism. In the most multicultural seat in Queensland, this is, was and always will be particularly important. Duncan always stood up for the people of Stretton in the Queensland parliament. Duncan achieved so much for the people of Stretton and for Queenslanders and will be sadly missed. I'll finish with a bit of a nod to Duncan's very proud Scottish heritage with a quote from the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell:

To live in hearts we leave behind

Is not to die.

Duncan, you will live on in the hearts of so many in our community. Vale Duncan Pegg.