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Speech to the State Funeral Service, Albury

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The Hon. Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister




PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much Michael.

Tim wasn't someone given to disappointment, but there were exceptions. He was Deputy Prime Minister,

Minister for Trade and he was on a visit to India.

He was in New Delhi and his staff had noticed that an interesting meeting had appeared on his schedule.

He was to meet with the Indian Minister for Transport. Tim was particularly excited about this day.

He was going to have this meeting on his own - staff were not permitted to go into this special meeting

that it would seem that he had personally arranged.

On that day, he went in, sat down with the Minister for Transport. Staff waited patiently outside - it was

a rather lengthy meeting - and as he came out, the staff noticed that he had a very glum look on his face.

A very frustrated look on his face.

And they said, “What’s up Boss?”

“That man doesn't know his trains!”

It's true. Tim Fischer had a great love of trains, a boyhood fascination that stayed with him for life, and we

all have a train story about Tim.

But when I spoke to Judy the other day from Vietnam, she said, “I hope people remember more than Tim

than his love of trains.”

And that's what we're doing here today.

It was one of many things we loved about him but Tim was so much more than that.

Today we gather to celebrate the life of Timothy Andrew Fischer AC. We gather with Judy, with Harrison

and Dominic to extend to them all of our comfort, all of our love and all of our support and to give thanks

for your remarkable husband and father of whom I know you are truly proud.

We gather amongst friends to farewell a dear and true friend. We gather as Australians to honour a

veteran, a colleague, and a patriot who served his country faithfully and well.

Tim Fischer was an original. Emphatically made in Australia. He was - and I'm sure Macca wouldn't mind

me saying - Australia All Over.

A big man in every sense of the word, as big as the country he loved and served.

His big hat, his big hands, his big frame, his big beliefs and passions, his big view of Australia, and of

Australians. He had a big courage, but one he combined with a gentle and forgiving kindness that

understood human frailty.

He was a deeply honest man, and he was no stranger to humility.

I heard a preacher say once, “God uses those who care.”

In Tim Fischer, this gave God a lot to work with.

Tim was infectious. For Tim, life was about people.

He had the ability to focus all of his attention on you. He would give himself over completely in his

engagement with you - you had his attention, you mattered. He listened and he always remembered.

I was having a beer with Tim once at the Gardeners Inn pub up in Blackheath one night and a fellow came

up to him and he said, “You won’t remember me.”

And as I'm sure you know, he remembered his name, he remembered what he talked about and where

he met him and it was something like twenty three years previous.

Rule number one - we were just hearing of rules number two and three - of Tim's list of tips for new MPs

was to ensure they kept in touch with at least 10 close friends from outside of politics to ensure they kept

those friendships alive.

Tim understood the value of people in his life and he never expected anyone else to do what he wouldn't

do himself.

In 1986 when a young refugee from Laos devastated by the separation from his family stormed the

Immigration Department's office here in Albury it was Tim who walked inside, against all advice, to talk to

him, and it was Tim who peacefully resolved the siege hours later.

When his country called, Tim Fischer never failed to answer.

From proudly serving in Vietnam in the Australian Army to his election to both state and federal

Parliaments, to his leadership of the great National Party - and I acknowledge Michael McCormack here,

the leader of the Nationals today - as Minister for Trade, as Deputy Prime Minister and his many roles

post politics.

No one was ever left guessing what Tim believed and what he was passionate about and he always

channelled that passion into action.

As acting Prime Minister, he revelled in running the country from Mount Kosciuszko. As Trade Minister,

he championed an end to protectionism and greater engagement with Asia.

And because, as much as Tim fought fiercely for the people of his beloved rural and regional Australia, he

was big too in his view of Australia's place in the world and he left a great mark upon it.

In the wake of the Port Arthur tragedy in 1996, a truly horrific page in our nation's history, where John

Howard who is here today with his wife Janette garnered the strength and mettle to mount swift action

with new gun laws, it was as Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals that Tim Fischer shared

that resolve.

And for him, this task was arguably even greater. Gun laws were not popular in regional Australia in 1996

and where there was resistance, Tim copped the brunt of it.

He stumped up and he persuaded, together with the Prime Minister, and convinced regional Australians

about the need for change.

It wasn't easy.

He stood firm with his Prime Minister, co-committed as Leader of the Nationals, to that great Coalition

which we share to this day, unwavering until it was done.

Australians are now safe today because of him.

I'm sure the former Prime Minister Howard would agree they were Tim's laws too, and we are indeed

truly grateful.

This was his finest moment among so many, and Australia will always be in his debt.

After leaving Parliament Tim continued to put his country first, answering the call from both governments

of all sides of politics.

For Tim, it was always about Australia.

His authenticity, his preparedness to be himself made him who he was.

A tower of strength, a titan of regional Australia, a giant of a human being, a man of deep faith, a devoted

and adoring husband and father, a dear and loved friend, the son of a grateful nation.

Tim Fischer was one of a kind.

And the boy from Boree Creek has left us too soon.

May he rest in peace.

As he enters eternity, he will no doubt be greeted with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

And for those who he has left behind here, we can take comfort in the simple fact that we knew and we

loved Tim Fisher.

And we are better for it.


Contacts: Press Office, (02) 6277 7744 The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Sydney

Press Office of the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister, Canberra