CONDOLENCES - Newman, Hon. Jocelyn Margaret, AO


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (16:21): For all but her first three years, I served with Jocelyn Newman in this particular chamber. I express my condolences and those of my wife, Lesley, to Jocelyn's family. The Newmans were a very significant political and military family. I certainly wasn't in parliament at the time, but I well remember when Kevin Newman won the electorate of Bass at the Barnard by-election, which was the start of the shift against the Whitlam government and the inauguration of the Fraser government. Kevin, himself a distinguished soldier, served in this parliament for many years in various portfolios, initially as Minister for Repatriation, going on to serve in many other portfolios. Jocelyn was steeped in the military tradition, as was her son, Campbell, who, of course, I knew well in his role as Lord Mayor of Brisbane and later as Premier of our great state of Queensland.

I last saw Jocelyn during Campbell's first campaign, and she was very much part of it in those days. She certainly assisted Campbell with a lot of advice in that difficult time when he was leading the LNP but wasn't in parliament himself. I remember that Jocelyn was a tower of strength. Unfortunately, ill health in the latter part of her life while Campbell was Premier really prevented me or too many others from visiting her, but she was a wonderful person. Senator Payne mentioned former senator Robert Hill, who was Leader of the Opposition and then Leader of the Government in the Senate. I happened to run into Robert Hill earlier today and we were talking about Jocelyn. Robert described her as a very efficient and effective shadow minister and then minister but, more importantly, as a warm and loyal friend. I think that sums up Jocelyn very well.

I particularly remember her in many fields. When I first came into parliament, the Liberal Party in Queensland almost wasn't known outside of Brisbane. I'd come in and was based in the north, but people didn't know what a Liberal was. I used to organise groups of Liberal senators to come to North Queensland so that people could see that there were such things as Liberal senators and that there were, indeed, Liberal women senators. I remember Jocelyn was part of the team that came up on several occasions to float around the whole of North Queensland spreading the word.

I do remember well the 1996 election, which, of course, John Howard won as Prime Minister, and Jocelyn was the shadow minister for defence. They happened to be in Townsville, no doubt on a shadow cabinet meeting or doing other good work in opposition at the time. I do remember Jocelyn as shadow minister for defence standing at the front counter of my office at the Suncorp building in Townsville, taking phone calls and making last-minute adjustments to the coalition's defence policy, which at late notice she had decided she was going to release the next day or the subsequent day. And I well remember how efficient she was, how forceful she was with the leadership and with those who were advising her on the coalition's policy for the '96 election in the defence area. She is, as Senator Payne and others mentioned, a tower of strength for women and for the Liberal Party in this chamber and everywhere else.

I particularly wanted to acknowledge Jocelyn but also extend my condolences to Campbell and Lisa, who I knew—I'm afraid I didn't know other members of the family, but my condolences to them. I know that always Campbell gained great inspiration from the strength of his mother and father, but particularly his mother in those later years of her life, when he led his party to the biggest ever election win of any election, I think, anywhere in the Western democratic world at that time. And I know that Jocelyn contributed to Campbell's strength and forbearance at that time. May she rest in peace.

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