Page 1854 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Trevor Kaine was not devious. Trevor Kaine would not go around stabbing you in the back. He would be up-front. He would front you. He would shirtfront you. He would say it to your face. Sometimes he would say it pleasantly, sometimes aggressively, but always openly and honestly. And there is much to say for that.
I recall, when I did not get back at the end of the First Assembly, having been dumped down the ticket to number eight—I had a good personal vote but it is pretty hard, when you have got a system like a Senate system, to get in at that number—he then came to me and said, “Mate, if you’ve got any problems, I’d be delighted if you’d come and work with me.” That meant a lot to me. I said: “No, it’s okay, thanks, Trev. I’ve got a few other things I would like to pursue, but I greatly appreciate you making that offer.” He was that kind of guy. You might have a few blues with him. He would not hold a grudge. He was a very decent, honourable, old-style fellow in that regard. In a way, it is excellent to have people like that in politics.
When I got back in, Kate was leader; we had the Carnell government. I had the pleasure of serving with Trevor in many capacities, including when he was Minister for Urban Services. I think the previous speaker mentioned his responsibility for business and tourism. He would get to the bottom of a matter. He had great breadth of intellect. He could see problems, often before other people could see those problems. He was certainly not backward in coming forward in telling his colleagues about those problems.
It was the final straw for him in 1998. It was not so much that he was not a minister; he was given that opportunity. He declined it for a very honourable reason—one on which I would not agree with him, perhaps, but he declined that. About a month later, when Michael Moore became a minister, that was the final straw for Trevor. I recall trying to talk him out of leaving the party, but he had set his mind on it. He was quite clear about why he was going to do it, and I respected him for that.
He continued to contribute, as other speakers have said, in the Fourth Assembly, before not getting back as a result of the 2001 election. Since that time, I have had the pleasure on a number of occasions of catching up with him, usually over lunch with Greg Cornwell, Harold Hird and the late Jim O’Neill, the first Auditor-General of the ACT, who was a great friend of Trevor’s and a very fine auditor as well. I also caught up with Trevor on a number of other occasions. I will always appreciate Trevor turning up here in May 2006, when he was very sick, to hear my first budget reply speech as Leader of the Opposition. He was not well; I appreciated that and it was a good mark of our friendship. He was a man for whom I had immense respect and he contributed hugely to the territory.
If someone asked me to sum up Trevor’s legacy, I would probably say this: he was a solid, able administrator. Trevor Kaine used his considerable skills and experience to work well with interesting and, at times, difficult characters to steer the ACT competently through uncharted and, at times, troubled waters during those first few years of self-government. The fact that the ACT is on such a fundamentally sound footing today is in no small measure due to the efforts of Trevor Thomas Kaine.
MR BERRY (Ginninderra) (11.10): Too often one is getting to rise in this place to speak about former colleagues on motions of condolence. When I first came to this