It is great to be here with so many old friends and people I remember as the “big boys” in what was then the Young Liberal Movement, from my point of view. I am sure for the Young Nats the same applies. It is just tremendous to see so many people who were so important back then…..
Ian Walker: I was there
You were indeed. There are too many to go through but I just want to mention, one - Don Cameron - because I think he was the first Young Liberal president.......
Don Cameron: Say the bloody oldest
Ok the most senior, here. Don was the Young Liberal President when I had been in the movement for a couple of years so it is always great to see Don. The other one I want to mention is Steve Minnikin. Now Steve is only a new comer, compared to Don but Steve was the one who initiated my Life Membership so I always acknowledge him.
Steve Minnikin: Remember the drinks tab Ian
But guys look, thanks very much for having us here today, for doing this function, for allowing people like George Brandis and I and others who have been around for so long, to get together and join together with some of the current members of the Young Liberal movement. Luke, you have done a wonderful job in everything you have achieved in the time you have been prominent in the YLNP and particularly in the last election campaign.
I am going to steal Ian Walker’s thunder here because he mentioned it to me today that some of the current Young Liberal Nationals would be feeling a little bit depressed of the result of the election. But Ian Walker mentioned to me just today that you shouldn’t be depressed about it because 3 years ago was the best result the Liberal National Parties have ever had in Queensland and the election just earlier this year is the second best.! So you have done a wonderful job.
And look to people like myself who have had the privilege of serving the Party in parliament, it seems sometimes younger people don’t understand just how important you are to the whole process. The process of making sure first of all, that the Party has some new ideas, some policy initiatives that appeal to younger people in society and of course it is also terribly important, the work you do coming up to the elections. Any of you who follow Facebook as I do, (I see many of my Facebook friends are here) but not a minute goes by without a photograph appearing of all these young people in blue t-shirts (or I see in Northern New South Wales, green shirts as well) and the impact of that I’m sure young people never fully understand. Can I tell you as one who has benefited, and I know I speak for all the elected members, the support the YLNP have given over many years is just tremendous.
You have done a great job in the State election. Of course the next one is the Federal election coming up in the next 18 months and I know you will be out there helping us again.
Things haven’t been all that rosy in the Federal Parliament in the last little while, and there has been some schisms. But acknowledging the death yesterday of the Right Honourable Malcom Fraser, makes us realise that schisms in the Liberal Party and the Parliamentary Party are not new and are really part of life. And there was a spill, as you all know, a little while ago but that has been resolved and I know that the Party will go forward united to the next election. We do have a lot of work to do and I am delighted to say that Tony has got the message, he has understood the sorts of things that people, all of you were saying. He has had the courage and the ability to change and to do what I think needs to be done and we certainly look forward to the next election very positively. And in that we do again seek and appreciate the support that I know the YLNP will give.
Luke, did say to me you should just say a couple of minutes about my time in the YLNP but, I have to say I can’t really do that as it was so long ago, I have almost forgotten!
But of course Lesley and I were married out of the Young Liberals many, many years ago. And like today, we were in those days what we were thought was a bit radical. We once talked about Australia being “One Nation” but someone else took that idea later on. That was sort of a radical thought back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. We were in the Burdekin and in those days it wasn’t sort of traditional Liberal Party territory. Young Liberals in those days in the Burdekin had a membership of about 80. Now a lot of them weren’t terribly interested in politics, but we ran the best parties in town. If you wanted to be in the "in" crowd and to be noticed in a smaller country town, you joined the Young Liberals. There are people still around today who stand on the polling booths and hand out how to vote cards, people who joined the Young Liberals back in those days, more for the parties because we had the most attractive girls there. But their involvement has gone on and their interest is still there.
Tonight has has been a wonderful event for me. Thanks very much for having me speak, I know I speak for George, who as well as being a past president and life member is now in the very elevated position of the Attorney - General and he does a wonderful job. And do I see next to him? Yes I do. I do see another Past President Nick Ferret who was also instrumental in my life membership. It is great to see you here as well, Nick. I didn’t mention you before because I didn't see you here......
Interjector: always a shadowy figure
Anyhow that’s about it for me, Thanks very much for everything and as I say on behalf of all my, particularly my federal elected colleagues, (as I know Ian will speak on behalf of the state people) who have benefited from your assistance over the past 50 or more years but particularly in the last few years, thank you very much for all you do. We look forward to continue working with you for the betterment of Australia.