Vale, David Jull


I am honoured to join the Leader of the Government in the Senate in speaking to this motion of condolence for the late David Francis Jull.

I am grateful to our Senate Leader, Senator Abetz for allowing me to be the principal speaker on this motion and I also want to acknowledge our Deputy Leader, Senator Brandis, a fellow Queenslander who has also kindly allowed me to second the motion.

I want to extend to Davids family and friends, particularly his sister Gwen, brother Peter and sons Michael and Jay and nephews Stephen and Andrew, the condolences of all Senators and in particular Queensland Senators who worked with David in various forms over the years, Senator Brandis, Senator Mason, Senator Boyce, Senator Boswell and Senator Joyce.

With some of my remarks I know other former parliamentary colleagues and friends would want to be associated and again I particularly mention two of Davids best mates former Senate Leader Robert Hill who with Mr Christopher Pyne MP lived with David in their Canberra establishment for all of the time that David and his colleagues were in Canberra. I know former Senators McGibbon, Herron and Parer and previous Queensland MPs John Moore, Don Cameron and Kathy Sullivan would also want to be associated. I know his long term and very loyal staffer and friend Anne Quinlan would also be devastated by Davids passing

All of those who worked with David were influenced by his commitment, energy and humour and his passionate beliefs in liberalism and the Liberal Party.

David was elected as the member for the Brisbane bayside electorate of Bowman at the 1975, 1977 and 1980 elections but was defeated in 1983. He returned to Federal Parliament as the first member for Fadden in 1984 and was elected handsomely at every subsequent election until his retirement in 2007. As David said in his final speech to the House of Representatives on 19th September 2007, quoting the 129th psalm many a time have they fought against me. Yea many a time they have fought against me from my youth up, but they have not prevailed against me.

As he said then, he was particularly pleased that he left this place in his own time they as he said did not get him. Im never quite sure who he meant by they. David was a real liberal and as one of his long term friends Tom Harley said of him he was a figure of constancy with his liberal values. He was a genuine small l liberal and his whole life and his work in parliament reflected that.

Not that the Liberal Party ever has any factions, but David could always be relied upon where his vote or influence was needed in preselection and elections to the executive. He did involve himself very closely with party units in his own electorate and when necessary to help friends, in the wider Queensland scene.

He was very much involved in what was the awful eighties so far as the Liberal Party is concerned with the leadership changes from Howard to Peacock and then Hewson then Downer then Howard again.

Jully, as all of his friends called him, was passionate about the tourist industry and in fact had worked in that industry prior to his entry into parliament. He was a great advocate for tourism and contributed in many ways to its success in its halcyon days. He was also one of the most knowledgeable in relation to aviation matters and took that to extremes by knowing the history of every single aircraft flown domestically by Qantas and Ansett. He was able to, without any thought, advise important details like when the aircraft was manufactured, where it had flown, how many problems it had had that had to be rectified, which aircraft had the most comfortable seats.

He wasnt all that fussed with Ansett Airlines which he would always refer to as Criminal Air and this followed a policy altercation he had with a very prominent former owner of Ansett (now deceased I might say) who had threatened to have him killed because of certain policy arguments he had about Ansett. He was not much more complimentary about TAA and Qantas and as I recall he had a name for that airline which was associated with the KGB and the Kremlin.

David will be remembered seriously for many good works and the help he gave to constituents and the contribution he made to Australia.

However there are many former colleagues from both sides of parliament who were eternally grateful to David for advice, itineraries, and even on occasions bookings at the right price, for any airline journey around the world. In fact again without much thought he could tell any prospective traveller the daily schedules for aircraft flying to anywhere in the world and it wasnt too difficult to learn when the plane left Stockholm bound for Kathmandu.

I always think he was happiest in his parliamentary duties when he was the Shadow Minister for Tourism and Aviation and he would often talk about how aviation and tourism was so inextricably intertwined.

Perhaps his unhappiest moment in parliament but one that he never mentioned, not even in his final speech, was the time of his departure from the Ministry. Every parliamentarian aspires to Ministerial Office and after many years as a Shadow David was appointed Minister for Administrative Services in the first Howard Government. It was a large and complex portfolio dealing with the total operations of Government. The 1996 Howard Government had a debt of $96 million to pay off and so the focus of all Ministers was cost cutting but this particularly fell to the Minister for Administrative Services who was required to find savings across a range of Government operations. He did this very well. There was a period in the early days of the Howard Government when some Ministers got into some trouble and there was a particularly prominent Minister who was under media and other scrutiny. It was suggested to David Jull by a higher authority that he should ensure that only the essential facts of the particular issue were released. It later transpired that more facts became public and in the subsequent hue and cry it was necessary for someone to fall on their sword. David did this although he was completely blameless. The irony of it all was that David, through his days in the Queensland Liberal Party, was never a great fancier of the National Party and the fact that his departure from the Ministry resulted from the indiscretions of a National Party Minister with whom David had only a professional relationship, was something that I think hurt David the most. But I repeat that he never expressed any bitterness about his treatment and never mentioned it in any parliamentary speech.

Jully was a great raconteur, a joke teller extraordinaire and his humour and irony were legend. He was a big man, in all senses of the word, a nice bloke and a very loyal friend to have.

His deep voice and his presence suited him brilliantly for his earlier career as first of all a radio journalist and subsequently a front of camera TV journalist. He was Assistant Manager at Channel 10 in Brisbane and even following his retirement David helped out with a couple of community radio stations in the Brisbane/Gold Coast area.

Amongst his many other good deeds and words David Jull will always be remembered for his part in the formation of a serious policy group of likeminded individuals call the Black Hand Society. This far from exclusive society brings together some of the finest minds, the greatest wit and the best bons vivants around the country together once a year usually on the eve of the annual Liberal Party Federal Council meeting. The only business transacted at these meetings involves a number of penetrating, ever so slightly disrespectful but always enjoyable speeches. David Jull was always a principal participant often emcee. The Black Hand Society will continue forever and every meeting will be a commemoration of the life, wit and loyalty of David Jull.

His one fault in my mind was that he refused to give up smoking until it was really too late and as a result he suffered from lung cancer for which he had several operations.

His fight with cancer resulted in the loss of one and part of the other lung but he never gave up, was always cheerful through a very torrid treatment process and never let his illness get him down. I am particularly grateful that recently a group of Davids Queensland parliamentary colleagues got together for a very long lunch at which David was at his sparkling best as we lingered over one or two or more bottles of very good red. We left that lunch believing that David had again won his battle. Several weeks later a special meeting of the South Wing Group, another once a year gathering this time of former Howard Government Ministers, was specially convened in Brisbane to again enjoy Davids company and presence. Unfortunately at that meeting David was clearly not well but he didnt let that interfere with his enjoyment of the gathering of his old Ministerial comrades including John Howard who made a special effort to be with David in what turned out to be his last meal with us all.

David was a man of faith, a great and loyal friend to all who knew him and he will be sadly missed.

May he rest in peace.

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