Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:57): I too wanted to associate myself with the remarks that my leader and other speakers have made about Brian Gibson. I served with him in all the time he was here, and he was a real gentleman—perhaps unsuited to being in parliament because he was such a gentleman. But he was such a capable man.
I continue to be distressed at the way Brian was sort of forced out of the parliament—not, I might say, by the opposition but by his own team. The incident which was the catalyst for that was at a crazy time in our political history. Brian Gibson was as honest as any person who has ever worked in this chamber could be, and the fact that he was required through political pressure to resign over a very minor technical infringement has distressed me ever since. Brian was a person who could have made such a real contribution to Australian life. He had made a significant contribution to his own state and his own community in what he did in his pre-parliamentary life, and it is just one of those great shames of life and politics, I guess, that someone who could have made such a great contribution had such a short time here. But, in the short time he was here, he certainly captured the friendship of everyone. Everyone acknowledged him as a very significant contributor to the debate and the works of this parliament and of government.
Mr President, I don't have the authority to do this, but I'm sure I can say it if others perhaps haven't mentioned it: I know that former Presidents Calvert and Ferguson would want to be associated with this condolence motion as well. Unfortunately, they are all at the other end of the country from me, but, as Senator Abetz and other Tasmanians would know, former Senators Calvert, Ferguson and Gibson were a bit of a trio around the country doing various things in retirement.
Senator Brandis: Playing golf.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: Playing golf! Well, I'll say 'doing things'—playing golf. I think they did a bit of fishing as well.
Senator Brandis: Along with Warwick Parer.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: Along with Warwick Parer—and Bill Taylor I think might have been part of that crew as well. But I do know that the two former presidents were very close to Brian and would want to be associated with the motion as well.
My condolences to Pauline and to all of the family and extended family. I appreciate you've lost a husband, a very, very close friend and a father, but we as Australians have lost someone who did make and, regrettably, could have made a much greater contribution to public life in our country. Brian, rest in peace.
The PRESIDENT: Could I ask senators to rise and to signify their assent to the motion by standing with me in silence.
Question agreed to, honourable senators standing in their places.