Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (21:50): Earlier today the Senate observed a minute's silence for two of our colleagues, one current and one past member of the House of Representatives, who had passed away since the Senate last sat. Tonight I want to say a couple of words about both of those colleagues. I particularly want to say a couple of words about Alby Schultz, but I also acknowledge that Don Randall, a serving member of the House of Representatives, passed away since we last met. A lot of fine words have been said about Don and Alby in the other chamber, where they were members, earlier today. I do not want to repeat the formalities of their life and their service to the parliament.
I had some experience with Don when he ran for Canning. As a minister in the government then, I helped him campaign in Canning, and I was delighted to see him win, not because of my efforts but because of his own qualities and the contribution he made to the part of Western Australia he represented. I am distressed to hear of Don's death and the way he died on his way to a function in Perth serving his electorate.
Alby Schultz was a remarkable man and always proudly nominated his occupation prior to coming into parliament as meat worker. He was what many would think was a most unlikely Liberal Party member and candidate and then subsequently member of both the New South Wales parliament and the federal parliament. I emphasise in saying what I am going to say that today the Liberal and National parties in Queensland are wonderfully united in the Liberal National Party of Queensland and we are the best of friends. But that was not always the way. Back in the dim, dark past, the Liberal and National parties in Queensland were less enamoured to each other than either party was with the Labor Party in those days. I remember the 1986—I think it was—election, when the Liberal Party under Terry White was fighting against the National Party under Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The Labor Party in those days were just not in the race, not relevant, and of course the Greens were not even thought of.
In that election the Liberal premiers of Tasmania and Western Australia and the opposition Liberal leaders in Victoria all came to Queensland in those days to support Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the National Party premier, and I guess they did it because they were fellow premiers. But those of us in the Liberal Party in those days were incensed that Liberal Party premiers and opposition leaders would come to the state of Queensland and campaign not for the Liberal Party but for the National Party. Unusually, curiously, unexpectedly for someone who was involved in the Liberal Party, we got a call one day from this guy who had just been elected to the New South Wales parliament as a Liberal Party member representing an outback seat—a country seat. He was not a typical Liberal; he was a meat worker. But he rang and said, 'I want to come and help the Liberal Party in Queensland,' and both he and his lovely wife, Gloria, came at their own expense to Townsville and spent a combined three weeks in Townsville helping the Liberal Party in Townsville. Alby stayed for, I think, a week, and his wonderful wife, Gloria, stayed for a couple of extra weeks just to help out. I have never forgotten that loyalty that Alby Schultz showed to his party and the things he believed in.
Alby was irascible, and over the years he and I—he and everybody in the Liberal Party!—had their disagreements, but he forever remained true to his beliefs and his philosophy. He was always a very loyal and dedicated member of the Liberal Party. I am forever indebted to Alby and Gloria for what they did all those years ago before any of us knew each other. It was almost a sort of strange occurrence that we met then and then later we both met in this parliament. Alby demonstrated in his time here, as he had through all of his life, that he believed in what he did, he believed in the Liberal Party and he believed in the philosophy of the Liberal Party. He, like many of us on our side, came from country Australia. Many of us have never been to the better public schools. We are sort of state school people, some of us not going on to even bigger and greater things. But Alby Schultz showed what a genuine Australian, a man of the people, can do for the parliaments that he served and for the people, originally of New South Wales and subsequently Australia.
You would have heard in the other chamber far more eloquent stories and tributes to Alby, going through his many attributes, but I wanted today to again, as I have done for the last 30 to 35 years, acknowledge a guy who was dedicated to the things he believed in, who was committed to helping out and who all of those many years ago came all the way from western New South Wales, from a place—Burrinjuck—which many of us in north Queensland had never heard of. He had worked out that those of us in the Liberal Party at that stage needed some help, and he was prepared to come and do it. Ever since, I have been a great fan of Alby's and Gloria's.
I empathise and sympathise with Gloria in Alby's loss. Alby was a great man committed to everything he did, and I know that Gloria and his family will be missing him terribly. But, in his long illness and his death, which he knew was coming, he remained true to the cause and remained true particularly to the people he loved in his area, to his old electorate and particularly to his wife and family. Today has been a sad day in that we acknowledge his passing and that of his colleague Don Randall from that chamber. Alby and Gloria, thank you for all you have done over many years for the things that you believed in, for the people, commitments and philosophies you served. I will never forget you.