Page 227 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Hon Tom Uren AC

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its profound sorrow at the death of the former Minister, the Honourable Tom Uren AC, who leaves a remarkable legacy through his contribution to the establishment of Namadgi National Park in 1984 and the Australian Heritage Commission National Register, which lists many Canberra treasures, and tenders its sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

Madam Speaker, I want to express my deepest and sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Tom Uren AC, who sadly passed away on Australia Day, Monday, 26 January 2015, aged 93. I would particularly like to offer my profound sympathy to his wife, Christine, his stepdaughter, Ruby, his adopted children, Michael and Heather, and of course to his many family, friends and supporters.

Tom Uren was a giant of the modern Labor Party, a man whose decisions were some of the most formative events in the ACT’s history. Namadgi national park has been enjoyed by countless Canberrans and visitors for over 30 years, and it is Tom Uren they have to thank for it. It was his decision as a minister in the Hawke government that created Namadgi national park in 1984, and we should all be thankful to Tom for his vision.

Tom’s illustrious 32-year political career, representing the electorate of Reid in western Sydney, also saw him have a hand in ACT self-government and in overseeing the construction of the new Parliament House. He was a man of conviction, for whom political activism was not a job but a way of life. His extraordinary contributions enriched the entire nation, including the ACT, and it is right that we, as a territory, express our sorrow at his passing.

Tom Uren was born in Balmain in 1921, before moving to Harbord. He grew up in what was then a working class area of Sydney; his father struggled to find work as a jockey and as a jack-of-all-trades. Tom left school at the age of 13 to earn money for his family. He was a surf lifesaver, he played junior rugby league for Manly-Warringah and he was a strong competitive swimmer. He excelled as a boxer and narrowly missed out on the Australian heavyweight title before joining the Australian Army in 1941.This fateful decision would change the entire course of his life.

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