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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 747..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

sandwich-ham with mustard or ham without mustard. Too bad if you were a Jew, a Muslim or a vegetarian, because you could not find a sandwich in the place that catered for your needs.

My role, like that of many others from Young Labor before and since, was to assist with the running of the very busy kitchen. It was a task that I enjoyed immensely and have always recommended to others. At some point during the weekend, everyone, from the ministers and party officials down, makes their way to the kitchen for a cuppa or something to eat. Many people of influence within the party have started their political life in Johno's kitchen: Paul Keating, Bob Carr, John Della Bosca and myself. I also have to say that it is the place where my fiancé, Brendan, and I fell in love, and started our relationship. I thank Johno for that very much.

Johno was also renowned for having raised huge amounts of money for the Labor Party to fight elections. In 1987, it was reported that Johno had raised more than $5 million for the party. Johno did not play favourites with his assistance, in spite of his firm allegiance to the New South Wales right. Whoever you were in the Labor Party, Johno would assist you if you were seeking election. He truly has a big heart.

Apart from making the terms "Labor Party" and "raffle" synonymous, Johno is most renowned for his mentoring nature. It did not matter where you were from-Labor, Liberal, Democrat, Green or other; right, left or unaligned-Johno has always assisted young people, and I am sure he will continue to do so. In fact, he is acknowledged in a pamphlet at the dinner in this way:

A true icon of the NSW Parliament, Johno transcended the political divide and was appreciated by those on both sides of the house. There is hardly a person in the ALP who does not know Johno and few have anything but the highest regard and respect for him.

Johno recently informed me that it was he, himself, who encouraged Mrs Dunne to join a political party. We both agreed that his guidance had not been sufficient in the choice of parties. However, I know that Johno is very happy about Vicki's election, almost as much as he is much about my own and ACT Labor's. I am also sure that he is praying for her to see the light and join the only true party.

While I take a different stance to Johno on a few issues, I wish there were others like him, but I know that this is impossible because he is one of a kind.

Mr Johno Johnson

MRS DUNNE (5.44): Mr Speaker, I rise in support of Ms MacDonald's tribute to Johno Johnson. I have known Johno since I was six years old. As a shop union delegate on the north coast of New South Wales he visited our home regularly. He was, as Ms MacDonald said, the person who encouraged me to join a political party. He said, "Vic, what politics in Australia needs is people of good will to join the party of their choice." I understand that he now says that they should join the social justice party of their choice.


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