Page 2736 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017

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Johno was born in Murwillumbah on the north coast of New South Wales. In his days as a representative of the SDA, he used to travel to the north coast of New South Wales as a union organiser, and almost every time he travelled north he visited my family home. Over the years I was regaled with great stories about politics and the labour movement, and also his other great love, which was the church. Johno was a great son of the church and a great supporter of the church in Australia and across the world. His role as a great son of the church was recognised in recent years by the bestowing of the honour of knight of the Order of St Gregory upon him.

Johno always liked to recruit people into politics. He intended to recruit people into the Labor Party, and he was very successful at that, but he was not always successful in recruiting people into the Labor Party. He did attempt to recruit Tony Abbott, as I understand it, and that did not work. He also attempted to recruit me and my brother. I think my brother did have a dalliance with the Labor Party for a while. One of my former staffers was also a target for recruitment into the Labor Party, and that did not work either.

Johno always used to say—and I remember this even as a young child—that what Australia needs is people of goodwill to join the political party of their choice. I like to say that after I became a Liberal politician he rephrased that to say the social justice party of their choice. I always disagreed with Johno that there is more than one path to the truth in politics, and I think that he had a grudging acknowledgement of that.

Australian politics is poorer this week for the passing of Johno Johnson. Many of us owe him a great debt. I think, as I said before, that the Labor Party will not see his like again. To see someone of his fierceness and his fidelity, both to his party and to his church, and to not really have to compromise on either part, is an extraordinary achievement. As we on Friday farewell Johno with his family, we say, “Rest in peace.” I am sure that the organisation of raffles in heaven will be greatly improved by the attendance of Johno Johnson.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.03 pm.

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