Page 229 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Tom was appointed to the senior ranks of the parliamentary Labor Party in 1969, when he became the shadow minister for housing and urban affairs, which he remained passionate about throughout his political career. As a minister in the Whitlam government, he was instrumental in many urban renewal and rehabilitation projects, improving public transport, building important urban infrastructure, preserving suburbs, and providing much-needed services and amenities.

He also established the Australian Heritage Commission and the Register of the National Estate, a number of parks and reserves, and preserved important heritage areas. He believed that one of the greatest advances of the 20th century was the new understanding of humankind’s impact on the environment.

Tom’s many urban, heritage and environment achievements stand as a testimony to what can be achieved when federal, state and local governments work together, with leadership and with vision, to deliver real improvements in people’s day-to-day lives.

In his retirement, Tom continued to campaign for the causes he believed in, including the protection of wilderness areas and the Sydney Harbour foreshores. He continued to campaign against militarism and opposed Australia’s participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tom Uren was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2013 Australia Day honours. His nomination for this award was supported across the political spectrum, in recognition of his extensive and remarkable contribution to this country.

Tom Uren was a man of moral courage and conviction, an optimist who drew encouragement from others, and a man who remained determined to achieve change to the very end. I think that approach, Madam Speaker, is exemplified in something Tom said later in his life:

I hope that right to the end of my days, I’ll always struggle for progress. Always have faith in tomorrow. Unless you’ve got faith in people, got faith in the future, then your life is not worth tuppence halfpenny and a beer bottle top.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition): Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Canberra Liberals to pay our respects to Tom Uren. Although acknowledged as a stalwart of the Labor cause, Tom was a man capable of generating respect from all sides of politics. Treasurer Joe Hockey is quoted as saying, “He was widely admired as a very decent man, a beacon of integrity and a genuine true believer.” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Mr Uren had “served Australia throughout his adult life”. The Prime Minister also declared that flags would be flown at half-mast on the day of his memorial service. And these tributes, Madam Speaker, are all from those on the other side of politics.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video