Tuesday 11 August 2020
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Australian PM - 1 month ago

Condolence - Gordon Denton

Mr Morrison: (Cook—Prime Minister) (14:02): I refer to the death of the Hon. Gordon Scholes and I move: That the House record its deep regret at the death, on 9 December 2018, of the Honourable Gordon Glen Denton Scholes AO, a former Minister and a Member of this House for the Division of Corio from 1967 to 1993, place on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tender its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement. Gordon Scholes had a fighting spirit and a gentle soul. When he walked the corridors of this building and the more intimate ones of Old Parliament House, he wasn t hard to spot. He was a big unit, six foot three in the old measurements—190 centimetres tall. He was an imposing presence in the Australian parliament for a quarter of a century, and, as a former Victorian amateur heavyweight boxing champion, I m sure he knew how to land a blow, but Gordon rarely brought, I m told, that pugnacity to this place. Like Ben Chifley, he had been a train driver. He was inspired to enter politics after a local kindergarten was closed down. In 1967, Gordon won Corio for the Labor Party at a by-election—no small feat. In fact, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke had tried to capture that seat four years earlier. Gordon said later in life, My prime interest in my early years in parliament was being in parliament itself. He loved the parliament, and it was his lot to be the Speaker during what would become the most tumultuous time in our country s political history in 1975. But it says something about him that he was one of the few not diminished by those events nor embittered by those times. As we all know, the tide turned against his party at that election, but Gordon Scholes survived that term, having won by just 20 votes after three recounts. Gordon Scholes served in the Hawke government as a minister, and during his time in this building and the other down the hill he was re-elected 10 times by his local community—a great tribute from his community. Gordon Scholes is remembered as a man who loved his family, who loved his community. He loved this parliament and he was a patriot. He loved our country. I offer the heartfelt sympathy of this parliament, of the government and the nation to Gordon Scholes family—in particular, to his daughters, Kerry and Anne, and to his grandchildren. Honourable members: Hear, hear!

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