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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 22 ..


new showroom and factory at Tennant Street in Fyshwick, where the iconic building still stands today. Mr Westende and Mrs Thomas-Westende retired in 1989, but within a year they were asked back, to get the business back on its feet, and within 10 years they had resurrected the business.

Mr Westende joined the Liberal Party soon after arriving in Canberra and, I am advised, served as president of the Woden branch in 1973. He continued to be an active party member throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, when the ACT became self-governing.

At the 1992 territory election, Mr Westende was elected as a Liberal MLA. He retired from this place in July 1994, before the end of his term. It has been suggested that Mr Westende’s retirement stemmed from his belief that the process of government was “too slow”. We have never heard that said in this place. He returned to IOF and retired at the age of 75.

He was passionate about Canberra’s business sector. His strong support for community activities and organisations such as Rotary earned him awards and broad public recognition in many fields. He was a life member of the National Press Club, the Canberra Dutch Club and the Southern Cross Club, and a member of the Commonwealth Club and the Rotary Club of Canberra East.

Mr Westende was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1997 for service to the community, and to business and commerce, particularly through the ACT Legislative Assembly, the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Gallery of Australia. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal in 1995 and was named an Honorary Ambassador to Canberra in 1998.

On behalf of the government, I extend our sincere condolences to Mr Westende’s family and friends.

MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (10.06): I thank the Chief Minister for moving this motion of condolence. On behalf of the Canberra Liberals, I express great sadness at the passing of Mr Laurus Westende OAM, one of the Assembly’s early MLAs and a significant contributor to the values and framework of today’s Canberra Liberals. Mr Westende—Lou—passed away in Canberra in August, aged 94.

Lou was actively involved in the Liberal Party for over five decades, serving as an MLA in the Second Assembly from 2002 to 2004. As a successful businessman, and using that business acumen, Lou was instrumental in laying the early financial foundations of the party, as well as establishing a branch structure for the new ACT division in the 1970s. He remained a dedicated member and supporter until his last day.

Lou’s life is a classic and inspiring success story of a postwar immigrant who made an immense contribution to a new country and to the city that became his home. After growing up in wartime Netherlands, and following service in the Dutch marines in the Dutch East Indies, Lou migrated to Australia in 1951, moving to Canberra in the 1960s.


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