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Monday, 17 June 1996
Page: 1608

Senator SANDY MACDONALD —I rise to pay my respects to the late Senator Tom Tehan who died on 1 June at St Vincents Hospital in Melbourne. As Senator Boswell has told the Senate, Senator Tehan was born in 1916 and came from the Goulburn Valley in Victoria. He was educated in Tatura and then at Xavier College in Melbourne. Tom married Nance Huggins in 1943 and they raised one son, Terry, and three daughters, Maree, Ann and Maureen. I convey to them and their partners and to his nine grandchildren, Madeleine and Georgia Thomas, Anna and Peter Robertson and Genevieve, Elizabeth, Sam, Nicholas and Thomas Lally, my deepest sympathy.

The late Tom Tehan was an extremely warm and friendly man. He commenced his career as a solicitor in 1947 and was respect ed by his colleagues and by all who knew him. He won office by being elected to the Senate in 1975—a very exciting time in the history of the coalition—and he served for three years. Prior to Senator Tehan's election, the National Party had historically found it very difficult to continuously hold a Senate seat in Victoria. However, I understand in his hands it looked like it would go on forever. He served as Victorian state president of the National Party, was eight years on the Victorian central council and three years a member of federal council. He summed up his view of the National Party in his own Senate valedictory when he said:

I think we are a party which places great importance on loyalty to leadership and loyalty to the government or to the opposition, as the case may be, in the parliament of which we are a part.

Tom's involvement in his community was extensive, including his involvement in Rotary, of which he was a charter member and past president of the Kyabram Rotary Club, as well as being awarded the Rotary Paul Harris fellowship. He was president of the Kyabram Chamber of Commerce and served on the Kyabram Historical Society and numerous other community and church organisations. He was also Kyabram Citizen of the Year in 1993.

In his maiden speech the late Senator Tehan pointed out that certain sections of primary industry were facing troubled times. He mentioned the beef industry, the diary industry and the fruit industry—all particularly relevant to his region. Primary industry is still, unfortunately, facing troubled times, none more so than the beef industry. However, I am sure he would have been gratified to know that the diary industry at least is now one of our more successful and viable industries and the fruit industry, after suffering for many years, is now seeing some encouragement. He also mentioned his concern at the abuse of drugs by young people, a problem that I know still concerns me, members of our party and, in fact, all members of the Senate.

Tom Tehan was an institution in the Goulburn Valley, having spent 40 years in the legal profession. The Senate might be interested to know of the notice that his former legal firm, Morrison and Sawers, placed in the Age on Tuesday, 4 June 1996, in which he was described as:

An innovator, a leader, a lawyer, but most of all a person of integrity and warmth. A friend and mentor to us all. Your memory will live long in the firm.

Even though I never had the pleasure of knowing Tom Tehan, his reputation and past deeds have gone before him. Some of his family are in the gallery today. I take this opportunity to offer them our sincere sympathy. The Senate salutes the memory of Tom Tehan and pays him our deepest and profound respects. I finish with a very interesting part of his own valedictory. He said:

It has been said that one of the hallmarks of a successful politician is that he makes some enemies. If that is the litmus test, I suppose I must believe I have failed because while I like to think that I have made many friends in this place, so far as I am aware, I leave it with no enemies.

Vale, Tom Tehan.