Page 1313 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 April 2013
major role in coordinating and managing the outpouring of the generous effort of spontaneous volunteers. Because of this I was on the subcommittee formed to deal with the massive donations of goods and in kind. Dr Peters sat on that subcommittee, and I had the privilege of seeing firsthand his strength, his commitment and his tireless work. And at that very difficult time his insight and his understanding of the way that this city and its people responded was an extremely important insight.
I thank Dr Peters for all he gave to Canberra and again pass on my condolences to Jo, family and friends.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services): I will just add a few words. Colleagues have spoken this morning about Chris’s contribution to Canberra, and many words have been used in the speeches that ring true—a generous man, a hardworking man, a decent man, an honourable man, a man of passion, strength and commitment.
Mr Hanson touched on Chris’s role as a mentor, and I would like to thank Chris for all of the time that we shared over many years in discussing many different things. Members would probably be familiar with an email that would pop into their inbox from time to time under the heading “Sir Lunchalot”. That would be Chris’s invitation to lunch.
We formed somewhat of a tradition, after the BSSS ceremony at the end of each school year just prior to Christmas, when things had quietened down, of taking the opportunity to get together over lunch and discuss what had happened in the year. But with Chris, it was always to bring out the list of what needed to happen next year. That, initially, was a pen and paper list but in more recent times he took to his iPad with fervour and would have an electronic list.
He would then go through, over lunch, often extending over a number of hours, each of the issues as broadly as you could imagine, obviously prosecuting his case as chief executive of the chamber of commerce but always with a view of what was best for the city of Canberra and what new ideas and innovations we could bring in the new year to ensure that this place was a better place, be that through his numerous community roles or his roles working with government. I commented at times over the years that, if a week went by where I did not see Chris, it was an unusual week. He was on so many boards, had so many roles with government—and at the time I think I held the education and training, tourism and industrial relations portfolios—and we worked very closely on so many issues.
But my greatest memories of Chris are not so much the professional side, of which people have spoken extensively, but of the time and effort that he put into individuals. And I can only begin to imagine the sense of loss for Jo and Chris’s family. I say, as someone who did benefit greatly from Chris’s mentoring and Chris’s support over the years, that it will never be the same. I hold so many cherished memories of the time that we spent discussing so many issues that were vital for the future of this city. That passion I will never forget, and I thank him very much for that.