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Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Page: 2395

Senator BRANDIS (4:05 PM) —by leave—As a fellow Queenslander, I want to make some remarks on the sad death only last week of former member for Bowman Andrea West. Andrea West died at a very young age, comparatively speaking. She was born in 1952, so it would have been her 58th birthday later this year. Sadly, she has been taken from us. Andrea West served only one term in the House of Representatives, as the member for Bowman. She was one of the landslide that elected the Howard government in 1996 and she was one of the several members of the coalition parties who lost their seats at the 1998 election. I knew Andrea West reasonably well. She was a well-known and well-liked figure in the Queensland Liberal Party and she had a very long Liberal lineage in Queensland, because she was the daughter of Bill Kaus. Bill Kaus was a member of the state parliament. He was the member for Mansfield throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s. So Andrea came from very good Liberal bloodlines.

She was a very generous and a gracious person. She was one of those heroic people who, knowing that they were clinging onto a very marginal seat after the 1996 election, nevertheless strongly supported the GST—the proposal that John Howard took to the 1998 election to seek the people’s mandate. Some of those members, particularly for very marginal seats, must have known, as turned out to be the case, that by supporting the GST—a proposal that had never been successfully introduced by an incumbent government without suffering loss at the following election anywhere in the Western world at that stage—she was imperilling her own future. But she, along with several other Liberal-National Party colleagues, was prepared to put the national interest and her beliefs and her principles ahead of her own self-interest. So she supported this what promised to be a very unpopular measure. She did go down to defeat in Bowman in 1998, but she was one of those people who, although they left the other place involuntarily, nevertheless left with their head held high because she had come into parliament to achieve things for Australia and, at the cost of her own political life, she contributed to bringing about that very beneficial set of policies. That is part of her legacy.

After her defeat Andrea West remained a member of the Liberal Party in Queensland. She was active around the branches in the Redlands area, which was where she lived, and in fact just over 10 years ago, on 30 April 2000, Andrea West was one of the candidates who stood for the casual Senate vacancy which was created by the resignation of Senator Warwick Parer. I was fortunate enough to be selected by the Liberal Party on that occasion from a field which I think it is fair to say was a strong field. Andrea West, as a rival for preselection, was the soul of courtesy and grace and decency.

I am sad for her passing. I am particularly sad that she has died at such a young age. Her legacy, although modest by comparison to longer political careers, is nevertheless a distinct and an honourable legacy of which she and her family can be proud. I am sure that the other four Queensland Liberal senators would wish to be associated with my remarks.