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Don Chipp AO

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The death of Don Chipp at the age of 81 has taken from the Australian political scene a colourful, compassionate figure.

He was elected to the House of Representatives in a by-election in 1960, succeeding Mr Thomas (Frank) Timson, as the Member for Higinbotham. For many years a Liberal minister, serving in the Holt, Gorton, McMahon Governments and the caretaker Fraser Government, Don Chipp will be best remembered as the founder of the Australian Democrats.

Don Chipp could not be readily typecast on issues except perhaps his very strong commitment to the environment. He believed that there was an important place for a third force in Australian politics. The validity or otherwise of that proposition will quite naturally be subject to continuing debate.

To me Don Chipp’s most enduring quality was his relentless passion and commitment to issues. Until the very end he had strong beliefs and strong opinions concerning issues of public policy.

Don Chipp made a significant contribution to public life in Australia. I know that his many friends and colleagues in the Australian Democrats will miss him greatly.

To his wife Idun and Mr Chipp’s six children, Debbie, John, Greg, Melissa, Juliet and Laura, I extend for myself, my wife and the Government as a whole our deepest sympathy for their great loss.

Don Chipp’s family has accepted the Government’s offer of a state funeral.

29 August 2006